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Salads, Vegetarian, Sponsored |230 calories per serving|35 minute recipe

Picnic Pasta Salad with Cotton Candy Grapes, Baby Spinach, and Feta

This content was last updated on June 18, 2021

Cotton Candy grapes are a beautiful bright green color, juicy and naturally sweet (yes, they taste like cotton candy), and they contain antioxidants, including health-promoting resveratrol. Adding grapes to a plant-rich diet can protect against certain cancers, which is why the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends adding them to your family’s table. Grapes bring interest to appetizer and snack boards, make work and school lunches more fun to eat and they are the star in this sweet and savory pasta salad made with whole-wheat orzo, Cotton Candy grapes, red bell peppers and baby spinach.


For the Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. champagne vinegar (or any other white vinegar)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. honey or maple syrup
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Pasta Salad:
  • 8 oz. whole-wheat orzo pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups green grapes, halved
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into ¾-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion (cut into 1/4 inch dice)
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
Makes 6 servings (1 cup). Per serving: 230 calories, 14 g total fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 23 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 260 mg sodium, 9 g sugar, 1 g added sugar.


  1. Place olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, garlic and honey in small container with a tight-fitting lid and shake until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in colander when done, and rinse under cold water to cool.
  3. Place pasta in large bowl. Stir in grapes, bell pepper, spinach, mint, onion, olives, feta and pumpkin seeds until well combined.
  4. Add half the vinaigrette and stir well until all ingredients are well coated. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Add remaining vinaigrette, if needed. (If making ahead and storing for several hours or overnight in refrigerator, stir in remaining vinaigrette before serving, if needed.)


Written for AICR and Divine Flavor by  Liz Weiss, MS, RDN LIZ’S HEALTHY TABLE who is an award-winning author, blogger, podcaster and nutrition expert.

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This recipe contains cancer fighting foods:

This recipe was specially crafted to support cancer prevention and survival. It adheres to AICR's Cancer Prevention Recommendations. Learn more about our recipe guidelines.

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