Grilled Tomato and Broccoli Pasta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Happy Monday, everyone! Let’s pretend like we’re okay with this by making some pasta salad. Down?

I did some crazy stuff for this meal, like put tomatoes on the barbecue and grill them. They get all wrinkly and ugly and charred, but you will fall in love. If you’re lucky, your stirring together all of the ingredients for this won’t pop all of them, and you’ll get to experience the entirely strange but weirdly satisfying pop of the tomatoes in your mouth. They become little bombs of sweetness!

Top down view of a white, porcelain bowl full of grilled tomato and broccoli pastas salad.

There is just something about cooked tomatoes that makes them so taste so much sweeter. For this meal, I used some mini heirloom tomatoes that I found. They’re about the size of cherry tomatoes, so go for those if you can’t find the mini heirlooms.

Also in this pasta (and cooked with the tomatoes)? Baby broccoli! Or broccolini or broccolette, whatever you call it – I love it. I feel like eating the long stalks with just a small tuft of floret at the end pleases me much more than the seemingly overgrown giant heads of broccoli you’ll find at the store. The broccolini is just more tender and flavorful, if you ask me.

An oblique view of two white, porcelain bowls full of grilled tomato and broccoli pasta salad with balsamic vinaigrette on a white table cloth.

And then! The vinaigrette. It’s not your standard balsamic vinaigrette, I’ll give you that. I just couldn’t think of another name for it (and certainly not one that would fit into the title of this post). So yes, it’s got balsamic vinegar in it! But so many other things.

A colander of red, purple, and yellow cherry tomatoes.

When I was done throwing ingredients into the measuring cup, it almost didn’t even resemble a balsamic vinaigrette any more. Seriously, who puts cumin and ginger in a balsamic vinaigrette? I DO.

Three white porcelain bowls full of grilled tomato and broccoli salad and fresh multi-color cherry tomatoes.

And so do you.

We ate this hot one night for dinner and it was good. I would totally do it again. But after I threw the leftovers in the fridge and ate it for lunch the next day, I was like WOAH. This should be cold and marinated for at least a couple hours.

A glass measuring cup full of balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

The dressing lost its vinegary edge, the tomatoes got even sweeter somehow, and it was the best lunch I had all week (and that’s saying a lot, since ice cream was definitely involved on another day).

A close up of a half of a bowl full of grilled tomato and broccoli pasta salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

But if you’re craving noodles for dinner and this strikes your fancy, do it. Or if you’re too lazy (like me) to make it ahead, or there is no way you’re going to make dinner and then not eat it, then do it. You won’t be disappointed.

An oblique view of a single bowl full of Grilled Tomato and Broccoli Pasta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Grilled Tomato and Broccoli Pasta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner


A delicious pasta salad eaten warm or cold. Grilled tomatoes pop in your mouth, and broccolini give it a nice chew. A surprising balsamic vinaigrette adds a layer of tang that wakes up your taste buds! Eat as a side dish or even as a main meal.


For the Salad

  • 1 1/2 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 2 lbs baby broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb uncooked pasta noodles
  • parmesan cheese, for serving, optional

For the Dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar*
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs


  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high. Combine the tomatoes and baby broccoli in a grill basket and drizzle with some olive oil. Grill for 15 minutes or so, tossing every few minutes, until the veggies start to blacken and the tomatoes are wrinkly.
  2. While the veggies cook, boil a pot of water in a stockpot and cook your pasta according to package directions and drain in a sink with a colander.
  3. Stir together all the dressing ingredients and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  4. When everything is done cooking, combine the noodles, the veggies, and about 1/2 the dressing. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Taste and add more dressing if desired.
  5. If you’d like to serve it cold, pour 3/4 of the dressing on, then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Refresh with the remaining dressing before serving.


– I really like vinegary foods, so I like the extra tangy-ness from the apple cider vinegar. If you aren’t that hot on vinegary foods, then leave this out and only add it if you feel like it is necessary. Also, use a high-quality, sweet balsamic to optimize flavor and minimize tang.

Keywords: pasta salad, grilled tomato, broccoli, balsamic vinaigrette

What about you? Did you try this recipe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and if you loved it, please rate it!

If this pasta salad tantalized your tongue, then some of these should float your boat:

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 11th, 2014. Last updated: December 3, 2018 at 6:52 am.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now being merged into Foodal).

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