I LOVE pasta salad. LOVE it. A few weeks ago, I decided I needed to make a batch to snack on during the day, so I decided to poll some of my friends on Facebook: “Best pasta salad you’ve ever had. Ready… GO.” I loved all the variations they came up with! Pasta salad’s endless versatility is one of its many virtues.
My friend Mandy suggested penne, hard salami, mozzarella, & Bernstein Italian salad dressing.
Lauren said orzo, kalamata olives, feta, red pepper, cucumber, & a lemon/EVOO vinaigrette.
Joy submitted “penne mixed with pesto, spinach mixed with ranch/milk, feta, tomatoes, & olives.”
Momo flattered me by saying my pasta salad recipe was her favorite. Isn’t that nice of her?
Stephanie said “orzo with lemon, olive oil, garlic, parsley, and STUFF. Whatever veggies you have on hand. Various parts of animals! STUFF. And CHEESE, Gromit!”
Thanks to a weird olive allergy (just the whole olive, not olive oil…don’t ask) & fear of Listeria while pregnant, olives & deli meats (sorry Lauren & Mandy) were out. But Stephanie’s comment — combined with all the other delicious suggestions — got me thinking. Can you really go wrong with pasta salad? I submit that the answer is NO!
My “usual” pasta salad recipe — the one I bring to parties & barbecues — is generally rotini, Good Seasons Italian dressing mix, tomatoes, feta, & parsley. Maybe a little Italian seasoning sprinkled in. But guess what? I don’t like tomatoes! So this time, since it was just for me, I subbed in red peppers. This is how I made it… do it your own way!
- 1 pkg. Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta
- 1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix, prepared according to the packet directions but with a little less water
- diced red peppers
- crumbled feta
- Italian seasoning
- Prepare the pasta as directed, then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking & cool it off.
- Meanwhile, marinate your red peppers (or whatever crunchy veggies you’re using, like onions) in the dressing for awhile to get rid of that “raw veggie” crunch. You may even want to do this an hour or two before you start with the pasta. This was a great tip from my friend Carolyn!
- When you’re ready, toss the pasta with the dressing mixture. Then toss in your other tasty “STUFF,” as Stephanie said, until it tastes perfect.
What’s your favorite pasta salad?