Pasta salad. I love it! Such a versatile and filling dish. It works great as a side dish at pot lucks, or a killer main dish for the family! The recipe below is a “Mix and Match” or “Build Your Own” style. Basically, just pick one thing from each section and mix it all up!
- One package of pasta, cooked al dente in salted water. Drain it and rinse it in cold water.
- Tortellini works great when making pasta salad as a main dish!
~ VEGGIES ~
- 2-3 Cups of fresh, chopped veggies.
- Some of my faves include: Cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots and broccoli. But be creative!
~ CHEESE ~
- 1/2 – 1 Cup of cubed, hard cheese.
- Pepperjack gives a great kick!
~ SAUCE ~
- 1 – 2 Cups dressing, my favorite combo is 1 C. ranch and 1 C. Italian.
- It’s important to incorporate oil into your sauce. This can be as simple as adding some oil based dressing with a cream dressing, or drizzling 1/4 C. of olive oil into your salad.
~ SEASONINGS ~
- Salt and Pepper, at least! And season it liberally! Think about being adventurous and experimenting with celery salt, seasoning salt, Mrs. Dash, etc.
~ OPTIONAL ADD ONS~
- Beans – one can beans, drained and rinsed
- Olives, drained
- Fresh herbs
- Pepperoncinis, roasted red peppers, pickled jalapenos, etc.
- Meats – mini pepperonis, lunch meat (cut in small squares), shredded or cubed chicken
- Canned corn
~ PASTA SALAD INSPIRATION ~
- “Southwest” – Pasta, canned corn, pepperjack cheese, cilantro, bell pepper, black beans, ranch/salsa mix dressing, drizzle of olive oil.
- “Cobb” – Pasta, cubed cheddar, cucumber, tomatoes, bacon, cubed chicken, red wine vinaigrette
- “Chicken Salad” – Pasta, cubed chicken, cubed mozzarella, ranch dressing, honey mustard/olive oil, dried cranberries, celery, spinach leaves (fresh)