Stone Fruit Pasta Salad with Fennel

Slivered fresh fennel bulb is a crunchy complement to juicy stone fruits and a zesty lemon dressing. If you like, swap in peaches for the nectarines and red plums for the cherries. This fruit-forward salad is hearty enough to be served on its own or paired as a side dish with veggie burgers for the perfect summer BBQ menu. 

Tip: To make this recipe gluten-free, opt for a gluten-free whole grain pasta, such as those made with brown rice, chickpeas, or lentils.

By Shelli McConnell,


  • 3 cups dry whole grain rotini or bow-tie pasta (9 oz.)
  • ½ cup no-salt-added canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 nectarines, halved, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh sweet cherries (12 oz.), pitted and halved
  • 1 small fennel bulb, halved, cored, and cut into thin slivers (1½ cups)
  • 2 cups fresh baby arugula
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • Sea salt, to taste


  • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Run under cold water to cool; drain well.
  • Meanwhile, for dressing, in a blender or small food processor combine the next five ingredients (through mustard). Cover and blend until smooth, adding water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until drizzling consistency. Stir in poppy seeds.
  • In a bowl combine pasta, fruits, fennel, arugula, and shallots; toss to combine. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt.

Comments (7)

(5 from 9 votes)

Recipe Rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mary Lou

My daughter made this for me when she invited me over for dinner. It was totally delicious! I had to get the recipe so that no I can make it.

Lucia Palacios

Is rich in flavors

Ingredients don’t mix well

As soon as I looked at the ingredient list I told her this isn’t a good idea, but she insisted to try it and it was awful. This salad is disgusting, me and my girlfriend made it in the spur of the moment and as soon as we took the first bite, we regretted it.

Laura L Lewis

Disgusting? Rather rude of you.


Perhaps you substituted ingredients and are basing your comment off of that. If you follow the recipe as written, this salad is delicious!


Is it possible you are just not a fan of sweet and savory?


Love this mix! Refreshing, oh so pretty, and a change in salads. Thank you.

About the Author

Headshot of Shelli McConnell

About the Author

Shelli McConnell

Shelli McConnell graduated with a bachelor of science in consumer food science and a minor in journalism from Iowa State University. She began her career as a home economist in the Better Homes & Gardens test kitchen before moving into an editorial position within DotDash Meredith. She has since freelanced for 25 years and has served as an editorial project manager for many books and magazines, including three editions of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. She has also developed thousands of recipes for publications including Forks Over Knives magazine; Eat This, Not That!; Diabetic Living; Better Homes & Gardens; The Magnolia Journal; and more. McConnell loves to entertain and inspire, so when she’s not in her office, she’s usually in her kitchen. Find her on LinkedIn.
See More from this Author

Free Download

Free 5-day meal plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

Placeholder image

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.