This Tuscan Kale Pasta Salad with Creamy Gorgonzola Dressing is one you’ll be proud to share at your next picnic or potluck!
Full of rich Mediterranean flavours, this Italian pasta salad is stuffed with healthy ribbons of kale, crunchy red peppers, prosciutto, walnuts and sweet dates. It’s smothered in a dreamy dressing made with yogurt and Gorgonzola cheese! Sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy, this tri-colour pasta salad has it all.
Speaking of tri-coloured . . . did you notice the red white and green colours of the Italian flag? We eat with our eyes first, and this vegetarian pasta salad catches our attention!
While I often make this Summer Veggie Pasta Salad as a summer side dish, recently my sister-in-law made my Hearty Tuscan Salad to take on an afternoon sailing trip. I had forgotten how much I love the bold flavours in this salad. I decided right then and there, out on the ocean, to make it again, but to try it as a pasta salad, instead. Success!
So what are we waiting for? Let’s make a shopping list.
Ingredients for Tuscan Kale Pasta Salad
- pasta: any type. The best pasta for pasta salad is one with lots of curls and crevices to catch and soak up all the yummy dressing. I used a gluten-free pasta, so my choices of pasta types were limited.
- bell peppers: I used red, but adding a green one would add a pop of colour, too.
- green onions: for extra flavour
- kale: I like to use Lacinato kale for salads (also known as Tuscan, Black or Dinosaur Kale) as it is more tender than some other varieties
- prosciutto: best quality you can fine!
- walnuts: you’ll be toasting and chopping these
- dates: the soft and squishy Medjool dates are my favourite. Don’t leave these out! They add a fantastic natural sweetness and beautiful flavour contrast in this salad.
- Gorgonzola cheese: you can substitute any blue cheese if you don’t have Gorgonzola
- Greek yogurt: for the creamy dressing
Tips for making the best pasta salad
First, cook the pasta to the al dente stage. Follow your package directions for the appropriate time to cook. Often it is 7 minutes. If you overcook the pasta, it will become mushy as it sits, because it will absorb some of the dressing.
Second, make sure you add lots of veggies and other add-ins. The first time I made this Tuscan Kale Salad, my ratio of pasta to add-ins was off. Too much pasta! Not enough of all the interesting tidbits! Aim for a 50-50 ratio of pasta to add-ins.
Third, make sure you have plenty of dressing. While I use salad dressings sparingly on my green salads, a pasta salad needs lots of dressing as the pasta will soak it up.
And finally, adding fresh herbs can bring your pasta salad to new heights! While you won’t see it in the photo, I added a handful of fresh basil to this salad.
If you make this Tuscan Pasta Salad, snap a pic, post it on Instagram and hashtag it #flavourandsavour. I love seeing what you make!
Tuscan Kale Pasta Salad with Creamy Gorgonzola Dressing
Creamy Gorgonzola Dressing
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 4 cups cooked pasta gluten-free, if necessary
- 2 med red bell peppers seeded and diced
- 4 green onions thinly sliced
- 3 cups Lacinato kale, finely sliced (also called Tuscan, Dino or Black kale)
- 8 thin slices prosciutto, cut in ribbons
- 8 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- shavings of gorgonzola cheese for garnish
- fresh basil for garnish
- Prepare the dressing first. Whisk together oil and vinegar and add yogurt, sea salt and pepper. Gently stir in gorgonzola. If the yogurt begins to separate, just whisk it again. Let stand while preparing salad or refrigerate if making ahead of time. For a creamier dressing, put all ingredients in a mini food processor and blend until smooth.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse briefly in cool water and allow to cool.
- Combine pasta salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing until evenly combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve and promptly refrigerate any leftover salad.
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