What Does This Dish Taste Like
Remember, this classic Italian pasta salad recipe is mirrored after Betty Crockers boxed pasta salad. So an Italian cook might have a different answer for this I am sure!
Personally, I really like the simplicity of the Betty Crocker recipe but the boxes are so tiny, when youre trying to feed a crowd, I just decided to make my own version one day and never looked back.
The featured flavors in this recipe are: carrots, black olives, bell peppers, Parmesan cheese and creamy Italian dressing.
I go light on the dressing so the pasta isnt overly saturated or greasy but use enough for the pasta and vegetables to be coated in plenty of seasoning and tanginess.
This vegetarian pasta salad is served cold and is best after it has marinated in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight.
Pasta Salad Recipe Variations
I enjoy this salad literally all summer long. I love making a big batch of it at the beginning of the week and then eat it all week long. It gets more and more flavorful as it sits in the refrigerator. Below are some of my favorite add-ins or variations to this Tri-Color Pasta Salad recipe.
- Pasta: While I love using tricolor rotini, some other good pasta choices are bow ties, macaroni, medium or small shells, orzo, and Radiatore pasta.
- Meat: rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken, mini pepperoni, salami, ham, and crispy bacon. Note that bacon is best added right before serving and when you know all of the salad will be eaten in one sitting, like at pot lucks. This will ensure that the bacon doesnt get soft or gummy.
- Vegetables: cucumbers , blanched or roasted broccoli, green onions, artichoke hearts, frozen and thawed corn, sliced zucchini, sliced yellow squash, or red onions.
- Beans: garbanzo beans , red kidney beans, white beans, and black beans.
- Herbs: chopped fresh basil, parsley, dill, chives, and cilantro.
- Cheese: cubbed cheddar cheese, Havarti, or Monterey Jack cheese. Also, shredded cheese like Parmesan, crumbled feta cheese, or mini mozzarella cheese balls work well, too.
The Best Easy Pasta Salad
Im not going to liethis recipe is basically the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Its called The Best Easy Pasta Salad, and it really lives up to its name.
Its stupidly easy , its absolutely delicious , and Im pretty sure its the thing that gives my life meaning.
You can find this cold pasta salad recipe on pinchofyum.com.
It comes with a beautiful homemade Italian dressing that I made for the first time and now Im obsessed with it, because thats how life goes.
The ingredients are simple:pasta , tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spicy salami, pepperoncini , olives, and fresh basil.
They combine together in a way that feels impossibly luxurious, but you only need one pot, one bowl, and a spoon to make them happen.
And then when you want to eat itdont even get me started!
If you love this recipe as much as I do, dont forget to leave some love on pinchofyum.com!
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How To Make It:
Pro tip: Having a party? Make it ahead to save time the day of the party! Use that extra time to socialize and be with your friends and family.
Why Are Some Ingredients Optional
Some of the ingredients are listed as optional. If you left these things out, youll still have a great tasting side dish.
However, everyone loves a dish that really WOWS. So these ingredients are ones I feel really add to the next level of flavor.
McCormick Perfect Pinch Salad Supreme Seasoning. Its specially made for pasta salads so the spices dont need to cook to activate like other dry herbs do. The flavor complements Italian dressing really well even though there are some overlaps like both have Romano cheese, but is there really such things as too much cheese? You decide.
My personal favorite part about this topping is the little sesame seeds in this mix. They just add a subtle crunchy texture to this pasta salad thats so good.
Again, this is totally optional but usually gets people talking about how yummy the pasta salad is so its a bit of a secret ingredient if youre looking for amazing flavor.
Parmesan cheese. You have some choices here. You can go with the dry shelf-stable Parmesan cheese thats a popular pizza topping. You can grate or even shave your own from a block. Or you can buy a tub of shredded Parmesan.
I recommend going with whatever you liked best or whats most convenient. The flavor is very similar, the texture is just a bit different with each.
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S To Follow For Easy Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing
How To Make The Best Pasta Salad
This pasta salad recipe is easy to make. Made with simple ingredients, this salad is flexible, so you can make this when you are inundated by summer produce or adapt to what is in season. Plus, you are looking at under 20 minutes from start to finish. Not too bad, especially when you can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days! This recipe uses a vinaigrette-based dressing. If you wanted a creamy salad, take a look at our creamy pasta salad recipe.
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What Ingredients Should I Add To Pasta Salad
We wanted to share an extra easy and flexible pasta salad with you. It is straightforward and quick to make. So you can make the best pasta salad, we have shared lots of tips below.
This salad is a mashup between Greek and Italian pasta salad. Greek because we add both Kalamata and green olives and Italian because we throw parmesan and fresh mozzarella cheese into the mix. For another Italian-inspired pasta salad, try our Three Herb Italian Pasta Salad.
If you love Greek-inspired salads, take a look at this briny Greek pasta salad or our favorite Greek salad. We also have a homemade Italian dressing, if you are interested.
If you would prefer to leave the olives out, no problem! Use our recipe as a guide, and then throw in the ingredients you love. We have shared lots of suggestions below.
TheBest Pasta To Use: Pasta is essential, but the type of pasta you use does matter. I like the pasta to bite back a bit and hate it when it turns mushy.
Thats why you should choose hearty pasta shapes like penne, fusilli, rotini, and farfalle . They also have the advantage of lots of nooks and crannies, which trap the dressing and bits of cheese. Other shapes can work, too. Orzo pasta is an excellent option, but make sure not to overcook it.
Add Some Vegetables: An assortment of veggies add color and crunch to the salad. We love adding bell pepper, cucumber or zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced green onion . You can add other vegetables, too.
Instructions For Black Folks Soul Food Southern Pasta With Italian Dressing
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What To Serve With Cold Pasta Salad
This recipe makes a ton of pasta. It is a great side dish for potlucks and cookouts. We love to serve this with burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, fried chicken, tortilla pinwheel sandwiches, or a chicken salad sandwich. Whip up a batch today! It is sure to become a favorite!
Looking for more recipes that go with this easy pasta salad recipe? Here are some of the most popular recipes from the blog:
Helpful Tips & Frequently Asked Questions
- I use rotini pasta in this recipe. Feel free to substitute your favorite pasta shape. Penne, fusilli, or farfalle pasta works great.
- I use fresh broccoli in this recipe. The original recipe uses frozen chopped broccoli. If using frozen broccoli, make sure to thaw it and drain it well.
- What can I add to the pasta salad?
- green or red bell peppers
- cherry tomatoes
- mini pepperoni
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Italian Dressing Pasta Salad
Italian Dressing Pasta Salad is the perfect recipe when you need a quick and easy summer side. Rotini pasta, bell peppers, onion, spinach, and parmesan cheese are deliciously tossed with zesty Italian dressing to create the best cold pasta salad. This healthy, vegetarian dish will be your new go-to for picnics, BBQs, and potlucks!
For just about every potluck, summer party, or church function, I always knew what my mom was making this Italian dressing pasta salad.
Before I ever liked vegetables, I remember sneaking bites of it from the refrigerator.
My mom would chop the bell peppers and onion very small, and somehow my taste buds did not seem to mind, and actually even enjoyed the crunchy bites.
This cold pasta salad was always one of the first dishes to be devoured and the recipe requested by tons of family and friends.
Now as an adult, every July 4th barbecue or Labor Day picnic would not be complete without this simple salad recipe.
Not only is it easy to toss together, but it actually tastes even BETTER when it is prepped ahead of time.
You can make it gluten-free by using a wheat-free pasta and keep it vegan by using a salad dressing without any cheese.
Can You Make Pasta Salad The Night Before
Can you make this pasta salad in advance? Or make cold pasta salad the night before?
This recipe is ideal for making the day before an event.
Making this Southern soul food pasta salad with Italian seasoning the night allows the flavors to mesh together, making it a little more complete and yummier!
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Potluck Perfect Pasta Salad
Whenever summer rolls around, we always seem to be headed to barbecues, potlucks, and patio parties. Of course, Im always asked to bring a big pitcher of Classic Mojitos but I almost always bring a cold pasta salad recipe along too! This Italian Pasta Salad recipe is a really fun twist on a classic pasta salad because its loaded with so many goodies. It travels well and goes with pretty much anything.
The Ultimate Easy Pasta Salad
There are a lot of cold pasta salads out there, but heres why you should memorize this one.
- The dressing is easily made from things already in your pantry.
- It totally tastes like your favorite bottled Italian dressing.
- Theres no mayo to worry about sitting out at a picnic or potluck.
My favorite thing, though? From start to finish, this whole recipe only takes 30 minutes to pull together. Its perfect for last-minute get-togethers or for a quick lunch to eat throughout the week.
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Tips To Make The Perfect Italian Pasta Salad
- Cut your veggies small: Cutting your vegetables into pieces slightly smaller than bite-sized will ensure that you get a taste of everything in each bite!
- Dont overcook your noodles: Overcooking will make a mushy pasta salad as the acids from the dressing will break down the starches farther. Shock your noodles once they are cooked al dente in cold water for best results!
- Cool your pasta before adding the toppings: You dont want to begin to cook your vegetables while you toss everything together!
- Let your pasta salad sit before you serve it: This gives the dressing a chance to really permeate your veggies and pasta, resulting in a more flavorful and delicious Italian pasta salad!
- Keep it colorful: If you are adding some extra veggies you have on hand, keep your pasta salad fun and colorful! I love adding things like artichokes, shredded carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, etc.
Best Easy Pasta Salad: Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of salt do you recommend?
Please note that the amount written is for COARSE sea salt. If you are using fine table salt, start with 2 teaspoons and add more to taste. The dressing itself will be very salty. Like, too salty for a normal salad. But in this recipe, thats what we want! That dressing is going to get tossed with an entire pound of plain pasta, as well as a whole lot of fresh unseasoned vegetables, and it will taste delicious once its all tossed up.
Can I use other veggies and extras in this pasta salad?How long will this prepared pasta salad stay good in the fridge?
Keep any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days in a sealed container.
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Zesty And Delicious Pasta Salad
I think we all know that the star of any summer potluck or cookout buffet is the salad section, right?
Forget sad green salads. Im talking about rich, filling salads that may not be the healthiest but are definitely the most delicious. This cant just be a Midwestern thing, right?
Nestled among the potato salad, pea salad, and ambrosia salad is always at least one kind of cold pasta salad.
This year, the pasta salad Im taking to every cookout is going to be this zesty Italian pasta salad. Its loaded up with veggies, salami, and cheese, then tossed with Italian dressing and a dash of hot sauce.
Its filling enough to eat on its own for lunch or delicious as a side dish alongside cheeseburger sliders, Italian beef sandwiches, or your favorite hot dogs or brats.
My Tips For Making Easy Italian Pasta Salad
- Be sure and salt the pasta water before adding the dry pasta
- Use an Italian dressing that you LOVE. I really like the Olive Garden Italian dressing so that is the one that I buy. There are so many options. Zesty Italian dressing, creamy Italian dressing, parmesan Italian dressing. Pick one you love or one that sounds yummy!
- It’s best to seed the cucumbers for this pasta salad. Peel the cucumber and then cut it in half vertically . Take a metal dinner spoon and scoop out the seeds and flesh. Then cut and dice the cucumber.
- Use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes. Either one will work great.
- Eat this pasta salad right away or let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. It’s best not to make pasta salad the day before, because pasta salad tends to dry out as it sits in the fridge for a long time. When you are ready to serve, or are eating leftovers, give the salad a good stir and add a tablespoon or two of the dressing to moisten it all back up again.
- The recipe calls for ¾ cup Italian dressing but feel free to use more or less depending on preference.
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What Should You Put In Pasta Salad
Here are key ingredients that you should include in your soul food Southern pasta with Italian dressing:
- Noodles .
- Tomatoes Slice whole or cherry tomatoes in half and add chopped cucumbers.
- Veggies Peel and slice cucumbers into thin rounds, halved. Optionally, you could add broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or peppers to get creative with any vegetable you like! Chopped tomatoes, green beans, shredded carrots, thinly sliced peppers, or any other vegetable in season.
- Dressing and seasonings Use Italian dressing and dry seasoning or preferably Salad Supreme Seasoning.
- Shrimp Use jumbo shrimp, either fresh or frozen. Peeled and deveined.
Pro tip: You can leave out the shrimp altogether for a vegetarian recipe. Or Italian sausage, grilled chicken, or imitation crab meat can be used instead of shrimp.