I have made this pasta salad twice in the last week because it is that good – and both times I have served it to company. Rave reviews!

The great thing about this salad is that it is so simple but the flavors are incredible and the addition of toasted pine nuts adds delicious crunch.

I could eat the noodles plain without all the adornments because they are fantastic by themselves with just the garlic olive oil and parmesan cheese.

Everything together creates a light but satisfyingly delicious combo. This will be making a frequent occurrence at our table!

Angel Hair Pasta Salad

Angel Hair Pasta Salad


  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1 4 oz. package pine nuts, lightly toasted (you can do this over medium-low heat in a non-stick skillet)
  • Coarse salt


  1. Boil water for pasta. When water starts boiling, add a handful of rock salt (i.e. ice cream salt). Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain pasta and place in serving bowl.
  2. While pasta is boiling, saute garlic in olive oil until sizzling and lightly browned (don’t burn the garlic or it will taste bitter). Pour garlic and olive oil over warm pasta and toss. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so (to taste) of coarse salt over the noodles and add 1 cup of the parmesan cheese. Toss again. Let noodles cool slightly.
  3. Right before serving, top noodles with diced tomatoes, pine nuts, torn basil and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Very lightly toss, being careful not to let all the toppings go to the bottom. Serve.

Recipe Source: from Aunt Marilyn

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32 Responses to Angel Hair Pasta Salad

  1. Kelly says:

    Giving this a shot tonight, adding chicken. How much pre~grated cheese should be used? Its what I have on hand.

  2. Ellen says:

    We had this for dinner (with steaks) and it was a hit! So easy to make. I think this would work with any pasta, but the angel hair is unexpected for a salad, which I like. The pine nuts add a nice touch. And this salad is pretty. I’m glad we had leftovers – I can’t wait to see how this tastes when chilled. Thanks, Mel!

  3. Ellen says:

    Mel, can you tell me if you use pre-grated Parmesan (that comes in a plastic container) or if you use freshly grated Parmesan (that you grate yourself)?
    The reason I ask is that the measurements would be different for both (a lot different, in my experience). Pre-grated is a lot denser. When freshly grated at home, it’s airy, and 1-1/2 cups would be less cheese (by weight); the pre-grated also is saltier IMO.
    I hope this makes sense!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ellen – I almost always use freshly grated. Hope that helps!

      • Ellen says:

        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I know you are a busy lady!
        We are having this tonight alongside grilled steaks. I’ll use freshly grated Parmesan. Since I discovered the microplane, I love grating.

  4. Colby says:

    I make a similar dish but add a bit of red wine vinegar to the oil and fresh mozzarella with the Parmesan. It’s one of our favorite summer meals.

  5. Marci says:

    Is this pasta meant to be eaten warm or chilled? I’m wondering if I could make it in advance

  6. Leah says:

    Loved both the salad and your photo! (I just want to add that there is NO WAY I would ever consider cooking with dirty-dirty salt of dubious origin. Ice cream salt is not at all suitable for human consumption.)

  7. davide says:

    perfect for my school assigment! 🙂

  8. Andrea says:

    Wow again. Mel seriously, you are an angel for posting these divine recipes. I LOVED this pasta salad, and my dinner guests loved it too. I served it as a light main course with your ever so delicious bread sticks. I thought it was a great combo. Thanks!

  9. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – that’s great to know this pasta salad worked great with rotini AND served hot. Thanks for letting me know!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Made this and it was FANTASTIC. I used rotini and served it hot (not as a cool pasta salad) but it was amazingly good. My family loved it and gobbled it up. Yet another “keeper” from your blog. Thanks!

  11. Laura says:

    I just discovered your blog and tried this recipe yesterday. Wow! I’m anxious to try some other things you have as well. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Melanie says:

    CIA – I loved your comment. Thanks for letting me know you and the BF loved this. I think the addition of roasted rosemary chicken really WOULD put it over the top. Yum.

  13. grace says:

    i really think angel hair is my favorite type of pasta–it’s just so delicate. i can definitely see why this is a favorite for ya’ll–it has everything a good pasta salad needs, all the way from the cheese to the awesome pine nuts. 🙂

  14. Steph says:

    Yum, this is my kind of meal! I could eat this everyday and die a happy girl…

  15. CIA-Cooking In An Apron says:

    OMG! Another notch on your awesomely good thanks for sharing belt!! I made this tonite and couldn’t even take a picture of it to blog about it because BF ate it all up…and it made TONS! I did add some roasted rosemary chicken that I had made and that addition put it over the top good! Thanks for sharing yet another awesome recipe!

  16. wineloverscookingdiary says:

    This looks so incredibly good that I’ve been drooling over it for days. YOu always have the best recipes!!

  17. Archana says:

    delicious, just realised that i am tired of eating this pasta with sauce, but now i have found a great way to use up this pasta. Thanks for sharing. BTW, I would love for you to send this recipe to the ONE DISH MEAL- Salad event I am hosting. The rules for the event are in my site. I would look forward to a recipe from you 🙂

  18. Melanie says:

    Archana – I totally agree with you that it gets old eating pasta the same old way every time with sauce…that’s why I fell in love with this dish, too, and I’m so glad you liked it. I’ll post it for your event, for sure.

  19. innainvents says:

    Your pasta salad looks beautiful!

  20. Melanie Anne says:

    This looks like something I would LOVE!! I have everything on hand for this recipe. I am going to make it for lunch tomorrow and invite my sister over-yum!

  21. Beth says:

    Delicious, my kind of meal too. Ive been to the farmers market today and bought loads of lovely ripe tomatoes and a huge bunch of basil – I know what I’ll be doing with it!

  22. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – your changes sound delicious – more tomatoes and quinoa spaghetti. Yum!

  23. Melanie says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments!Laura – I’m so glad you tried this and liked it! If you have a recipe blog, let me know…I’m always looking for new and great ideas.

  24. Psychgrad says:

    Looks delicious. It kind of sounds like a deconstructed pesto pasta.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I made this for dinner and we loved it!!! I tripled the amount of tomatoes and used quinoa spaghetti and it was wonderful! thanks for posting.

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