Quick And Easy Pasta Salad
- Finely chopped onion, medium sized onion
- 100 grams freshly shucked peas or frozen peas
- 16 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 finely chopped bell red pepper
- 125 grams grated parmigiano reggiano, or 125gr plant based cheese
- 300 grams cooked gluten free pasta
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 25 milliliters olive oil to saute with
How To Make Pasta Salad
We love that this recipe can be made in a jiffy. You can make a homemade Italian salad dressing to go with it, but we love that a bottle of store bought Italian dressing works perfectly in this pasta salad.
PASTA. Boil the pasta noodles according to package directions. When theyre cooked, drain and rinse pasta with cold water.
MIX INS. Add in your desired amount of other ingredients . Pour at least half of the Italian dressing on the salad, and mix well.
CHILL + SERVE. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, pour the remaining dressing on right before serving!
Tips For Making This Cold Pasta Salad Recipe:
- You can use any pasta, but I like to use fusilli, penne, or rotini. The shapes are fun and bite size, making them easy to eat for kids and adults. You can even use the tri-color rotini noodles, the kids always love those.
- Cook the pasta until al dente.
- When the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse it well with cold water. Drain again to avoid soggy pasta.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the other ingredients. For this recipe, I like to use bell pepper, tomatoes, and black olives. Pro tip, buy sliced black olives so you dont have to cut them. A great time saving tip!
- Dress the salad with Italian dressing. It is really easy to whisk up and I love the flavors. You could also use a simple balsamic vinaigrette or even our basil vinaigrette. And if you have a favorite store-bought dressing, use it. This salad is all about EASY!
- Finish the salad with fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese it really enhances the flavor.
- This salad is great served at room temperature or cold. It can be made in advance and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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How To Make Creamy Sausage Pasta
- Start by cooking pasta until al dente.
- In a Dutch oven or a deep skillet, saute garlic, onion and mushrooms in olive oil.
- Add Italian sausage and cook until brown.
- Add stock to the pan and deglaze the bottom, by scraping any cooked-on bits with a wooden spoon. Add milk and cream, season with salt and pepper, and simmer until thickened.
- Add pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Add Parmesan cheese and stir in to melt.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
How To Make Italian Pasta Salad
Cook up a box of tricolor rotini pasta noodles according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, chop up a cucumber, red onion, and cut some grape tomatoes in half.
When the pasta is done transfer it to a colander and let it drain. Turn the faucet all the way to cold and let it run over the pasta for several minutes so the pasta can cool down. You don’t want to add hot pasta to the bowl!
It’s easy from here. Add all your ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir together. This easy Italian pasta salad is good served right away or let it refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Just be sure to give it a good stir and you may need to add a tablespoon or two of Italian dressing to moisten it back up again.
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This May Be The Best Pasta Salad Youve Ever Had
Theres an unspoken rule when it comes to pasta salad: it needs to be full of flavor or no one will bother to eat it. And at its core, this classic recipe is a simply a side dish thats made with ingredients we often have in the pantry. The magic happens when a quick homemade dressing is mixed together, one that uses dried herbs, white wine vinegar, and lemon juice. The result is a bright, Italian-style dressing that blows away any store-bought bottle. When the dressing is mixed with the pasta and fresh vegetables, youll taste why this is a must-make for any summer party.
If youre looking for other summertime side dishes, make sure to try my fresh herb pasta salad, my grandmas truly homemade baked beans recipe thats incredibly flavorful, or my easy-to-make macaroni salad. Youll love them all!
Heres How To Make This Recipe
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Our Easy Dressing For Pasta Salad
Once youve decided on the ingredients youre adding to the salad you need to make the dressing. We make an easy five-ingredient pasta salad dressing.
To make it, whisk red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, dried oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Its simple, but when mixed with the pasta, veggies and other ingredients, it tastes amazing.
To upgrade the dressing, try champagne vinegar. Its a bit more pricey, but it tastes incredible.
Pasta Cold Salad Ingredients:
THIS recipe is the king of customization. You can swap and change out the vegetables and use anything you have on hand or that is in season. That means you could easily use your families go-to vegetables and make it a crowd pleaser.
- Pasta- I love a spiral pasta, like rotini. My mom prefers spaghetti. Whatever shape you have on hand will work!
- Salad Seasoning- Do not skip this! Salad seasoning, like Salad Supreme, adds a really great overall flavor to this recipe and kicks it up a notch.
- Italian Dressing- I suggest using a quality brand. Something that really tastes great as this will be a majority of the flavor.
Like I mentioned above, the vegetables are super easy to interchange. Use what you have on hand or what you and your family love. You could also add cubes of cheese, tuna salad, or diced chicken!
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Making Our Greek Inspired Pasta Salad
Greek pasta salad is an excellent salad to have in your back pocket. Its simple to shop for and quick to make. Serve this as a side dish or turn it into dinner and top it with grilled chicken, some shrimp, or crispy tofu.
We use our go-to Greek salad dressing in this salad, which is essentially olive oil mixed with red wine vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper. Then, for an extra bite, add a splash of the juice from a jar of pepperoncini peppers. Fresh lemon juice works if you dont have pepperoncini in the fridge.
For even more briny goodness, if you buy your feta packed in brine, use it! That cloudy, salty liquid is delicious and perfect when added to this pasta salad. I use two tablespoons or so. Its excellent.
Like traditional Greek salad, we combine fresh tomatoes, red onion, olives, and a generous amount of feta cheese. For a bit more crunch, I love adding one chopped green bell pepper and a few sliced pepperoncini peppers.
This Greek pasta salad is perfect for bringing to your next get-together. Its fresh, colorful, and tasty. Ive also been enjoying it myself as a base for something else. Consider adding some chickpeas, roasted shrimp, crispy tofu, or juicy chicken for a complete meal.
Making the salad is fast. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in the bottom of a big serving bowl, then pile in everything else. Easy.
What Goes Into A Creamy Pasta Salad
What you add to your macaroni salad is up to you, but think about checking these boxes:
When choosing the pasta shape, choose something that will hold onto the dressing. Shapes that have nooks and crannies like elbow macaroni, small shells or even spiral shapes work nicely.
Add some color and texture with a variety of vegetables. We always end up adding onion and prefer red onion for the pop of color. In addition to the onion, we love celery, bell pepper, and radish. For more veggie suggestions, check below where we share possible variations to the salad.
For a little extra brininess, we love adding chopped dill pickle. You could leave this out or swap with a sweeter option like bread and butter pickles or for something different, go for spicy!
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Frequently Asked Questions About This Recipe
Can any type of pasta be used in this recipe?
Spiral pasta will work the best because it grabs onto the Italian dressing really well, but other pastas work as well. Penne, bow tie, and even spaghetti work for this recipe.
What other vegetables would work well in addition, or in substitution, to the broccoli and cauliflower?
Any crunchy vegetables will work in this pasta salad. Make sure to dice them in small uniform pieces. Carrot, cucumber, bell peppers, and kohlrabi all work as substitutions or additions.
Can fresh spices be used in the Italian dressing instead of dried spices?
Of course fresh herbs will work in this recipe. When its summer and you have an abundance of herbs, its wonderful to be able to use them in many different ways. Use approximately double the amount of fresh herbs as compared to dried herbs. Also, if youre looking for a more herb-forward recipe, try my fresh herb pasta salad.
Do the red pepper flakes have to be added to the dressing?
No, not at all. If you are spice-adverse, use a lesser amount than listed in the recipe. If you like spice, feel free to add even more than suggested. The crushed red pepper flakes do add a depth of flavor and the typical Italian dressing zing, so I would urge you to try the dressing as written before making modifications.
How far in advance can this recipe be made?How long will this pasta salad last in the refrigerator?
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 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.
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No Matter What Flavor Profile Youre In The Mood For Well Show You How To Make Pasta Salad The Right Way Every Single Time
Packed with fresh veggies, creamy cheese and zesty dressing, a summer meal just isnt complete without a heavy helping of pasta salad. No matter what flavor profile youre in the mood for, well show you how to make pasta salad the right way every single time.
Before you start, get some more tips for making pasta salad.
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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Other Pasta Salads To Try
For the lemon olive oil dressing:
1/3cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
2tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2cupextra virgin olive oil
1/2teaspoonfresh oregano, optional
1pound rotini pasta, or other pasta shape of your choice
1/2smallred onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1red pepper, finely diced
1pintcherry tomatoes, halved
1/2cuppitted Kalamata olives
1/2cup crumbled feta
1cucumber, quartered and sliced
1/4cupparsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
How To Make This Vegan Pasta Salad:
Pasta is cooked, veggies are chopped, a super simple dressing is made and then its ALL mixed together.
I tried out a few combos to decide which dressing to use for this pasta salad. I ended up going with a simple Italian dressing using ingredients I already had in the house.
You can serve it warm but I typically prefer my pasta salad cold. Simply rinse your cooked pasta under cold water to cool in down before mixing it with the veggies and the dressing. Easy peasy.
Needless to say, Im a huge fan!
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Making Pasta Salad In Advance
Heres the great news. Pasta salad gets better over time. Letting the pasta and veggies sit in the dressing for a while makes a huge difference in flavor. We take the same approach when making potato salad.
You can make pasta salad and keep it in the fridge for up to five days, which makes this the perfect side dish to prepare in advance.
Lets recap, for the best homemade pasta salad, keep the following in mind:
- A simple combination of red wine vinegar, oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper makes the perfect tangy dressing.
- Pasta salad tastes better over time so making it ahead of time isnt just possible, its recommended.
- Use a variety of colors and textures. Vegetables add crunch and color, olives add brininess, and fresh mozzarella makes the salad extra special.
- Add even more flavor with fresh herbs, pickled veggies or spicy peppers like sliced pepperoncini peppers.
What To Put In Pasta Salad
Like I mentioned, this salad has bell peppers, tomatoes, black olives, basil, and Parmesan cheese, but feel free to mix things up. That is the beauty of a pasta salad, it is easy to mix things up.
Use what you have on hand. We are all about cleaning out the fridge in the summer and using what we have in our garden or what we pick up at the farmers market.
Some ingredients that would also work well in this salad include:
The options are endless! You really can throw in just about anything. Use your favorite ingredients and dont be afraid to play around.
Make sure the pasta salad is well coated with dressing so the noodles dont stick together and you want the pasta salad to have plenty of flavor.
We will be serving this easy pasta salad at all of our summer parties and bbqs. Plus, it is a great salad to have in the fridge for easy lunches and dinners. We hope you like this recipe as much as we do!
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How To Cook Al Dente Pasta
To determine if the pasta is ready you must taste it. If you are cooking a very thin pasta such as angel hair or spaghettini, start tasting it after just 4 or 5 minutes.
Small noodles such as orzo, pastina check in about 8 minutes. For thicker pastas check after 9 to 11 minutes.
Once you add your other ingredients you will have a meal ready in 30 minutes or less.
How To Make Your Pasta Salad Dreams Come True
Okay, its summer, so you know were not spending all day in the kitchen. Were bringing this beauty to share with friends, family, neighbors, post office workers, daycare providers, pretty much whoever can get their hands on a fork stat. Lets make pasta salad!
May I offer one last tidbit of advice? You do not need to wait to be invited to a picnic or potluck to get some pasta salad magic in your life.
This is a weeknights dream meal.
Stop at the store on the way home and pick up some good salami and cheese, some olives, and a few fresh herbs. Cook up some pasta, toss it all together, and voila. Cold pasta salad + a glass of rose for dinner, and colder pasta salad as leftovers for lunch all week.
I will be over in a flash.
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