I'm sure there are many threads about pasta salad suggestions and many great ideas here that will be coming in.
My offering would be that no matter what, try to hold off dressing the pasta salad until just before serving, as the pasta tends to absorb the dressing and get all fat and soggy, yet dry.
One of my favorites is pasta (any shape, I like penne or gemelli best) tossed with chopped grilled chicken, sliced roasted red peppers, crumbled feta and kalamata olives, dressed with garlicky mayonnaise. Finely chopped or chiffonaded fresh herbs (oregano or basil are especially nice) and lots of fresh ground black pepper to finish. Super simple but really delicious.
It's nothing fancy at all, but here goes my favorite (via my wife). Pasta (rotini), a can of tuna, chopped green olives, and mayo. Mix all together, let sit, add some more mayo and serve.
My son's favorite is mayo-based: elbow noodles with chopped celery, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, hard-boiled eggs (I usually just use the whites), and a can or 2 of tuna (well-drained & shredded), all mixed with mayo. Makes a decent light summer meal, easy enough to toss together & keep on hand to feed the always-hungry boy.
My favorites are more about nostalgia then cutting edge cooking...but my mom made them:
red onion diced
sliced black olives
Good Seasoning's italian dry seasoning package mixed with mayo.
spaghetti noodles cooked
red onion sliced
cucumbers, peeled and sliced
Cheese fantastico bottled Italian dressing
Did I mention it was the 70's?
Cheese tortellini with slivered black oil-cured olives and some parsley, tossed with a sharp, garlicky, well seasoned red wine vinaigrette.
I'm making this one for a picnic this week-end. Rotini, feta, red pepper, sd tomato, red onion, olives (on the side because I don't like them), arugula and red wine vinaigrette. Add dressing just before serving.
After roaming far and wide and trying all sorts of shapes and dressings, I've settled back onto what I've known as the good, the true, the one original "pasta salad": macaroni salad. Made with elbows, unless Mrs. O begs for shells. Cooked macaroni, chopped celery, chopped green onion, and a dressing of equal parts good mayonnaise and buttermilk, with a big spoon of sweet pickle relish to make Mrs. O happy. Same dressing I use for coleslaw, so I often make the two simultaneously. Plain yogurt, thinned somewhat with a little milk, is a good alternative to the buttermilk. Heavenly with homemade garlic mayo - see my earlier post.
i've been making one for many moons, that is always well received and benefits from sitting over night.
1 lb rigatoni
1/3-1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 - 2 cups (more or less to taste) chopped tomatoes
handful of julienned sundried tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/2 - 1 cup (to taste) grated parmesan cheese
handful of basil leaves, chiffonaded
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook pasta, mix it all up Refrigerate to soak up and marry flavors.
didn't make it yet; thinking about doing it this weekend. I have only boxes of elbow and spaghetti left and I'm on a budget. Since rigatoni is my favorite, I use it up first :) I know recipe calls for rigatoni, but if u only had elbow or spaghetti which would be better for this recipe -even if not ideal?
i finally made it, but changed fresh tomato to all sundried (used a little less) and added artichokes (since i can never seem to finish that huge jar of artichokes from Costco). it already tasted so good before it even sat in fridge. i put it in an hour ago and will take it out at around 8 for dinner. will have it with fish and a greens salad too. it never occurs to me to make pasta salad, but it's great sofla summer food. When my budget's not so tight I'll make it the way it was meant to be with fresh tomato and rigatoni :)
whole wheat penne, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, mushrooms, chicken breast, olive oil, parm. cheese salt and pepper
Elbow macaroni, shredded chicken, shredded Savoy cabbage, diced apples, grated cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and a hint of vinegar and sugar.
Lately I've also taken to make rotini salads with sausage, roasted red peppers, red onions, scallions and mint chiffonade dressed with olive oil mixed with crushed garlic, yogurt, sumac, sambal and chilies.
This is kind of cheating because the dressing is from a bottle (just call me Sandra Lee) but this is the pasta salad that people always ask me to make and it goes fast.
1 lb pasta (any shape...it varies) with diced green pepper, celery, carrots, red onion, cubed cheese (swiss, sharp cheddar, etc.), cubed ham. Add Cheese Fantastico salad dressing and toss.
The dressing has a lot of flavor and if you want it a little snappier, add garlic and red pepper. I change it up depending on my mood and my audience.
Last time I made pesto for dinner, I made a second box at the same time in order to make a pasta salad from the leftovers. When I make pesto, I usually cook French beans with the pasta,so my salad starts with that. To that I add halved grape tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, frozen peas, finely julienned radishes, and any other vegetable that I think might be good. I add some grated Romano and maybe a touch more olive oil. I like this served room temperature.
Radiattorre or fusilli, very finely minced onion and red or yellow bell pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Romano, sun dried tomatoes, and Kalamata olives.
I had this at a party and it was so amazing I asked for the recipe. It's spicy, so if you don't like a lot of spice, you might want to reduce the pepper flakes. At least use some, though, because it makes the dish.
microwave the following for 2 minutes:
1/3 c sesame oil
1/3 c honey (be generous)
1/3 c soy
1 T (yes, tablespoon) hot pepper flakes.
Pour over 1 pound cooked spaghetti and marinate overnight. I put mine in a gallon ziplock an turn it a couple times.
Before serving, toss with chopped cilantro, scallions, and honey roasted peanuts (about 1/2 c each)
Use this basic vinaigrette recipe: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...
Cook a box of orzo according to the package and toss the pasta with the vinaigrette. Dice tomatoes, colorful peppers, cucumbers, spring onions, julienne spinach, arugula, or basil or whatever you have and combine it all. I have used corn, peas, green beans in this salad.
I sometimes add garlic and lemon to the vinaigrette.
I'll often make linguine with cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and ciliegini (small mozza balls halved) & lots of basil. It's basically a pasta dish I let cool off. Super simple.
I also like farfalle with sautéed zucchini, shrimp, a little cream and fresh marjoram.
Peanut or sesame noodles are great as well at room temp.
I made this recently for company, and it was a big hit. Leftovers were quite good, too:
1 c. Italian basil
1 c. mint
2 cloves sauteed garlic
3/4 c. toasted walnuts
juice and zest of 2 lemons
Israeli cous cous boiled until al dente in salted water, rinsed with lots of cold water, and drained
about 1 c. baby zukes, cut into rounds (on bias)
about 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 c. frozen peas, rinsed and drained
While the cous cous boils, make the pesto. Once the cous cous is drained and cooled, toss with the pesto, vegetables, and cheese. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled. This would be great with fava beans, too.
I think the scallion flavor mellows a bit in the cooking process. It does not overpower the salad, I think the parmesan and the apple contrast it nicely along with the spice of the arugula. If you read everyone's comments, most love that it does not contain mayo. I personally love mayo, so I added a dollop at the end and loved the flavor. It is really one of the best pasta salad's I have ever had :)
It's the time of year when my cravings turn to main dish salads, with a strong preference for pasta salads. I've read through this thread - and others - for inspiration and have been making lots of notes.
But I want more (isn't that a common human desire)! More ideas, more recipes, more pasta and veggie options!
Please share your favorite pasta salad.
Box of Rotini/Corkscrew Pasta
1 jar small stuffed green olives, drained
1 can medium pitted black olives, drained
1 small sweet onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 yellow bell pepper, medium dice
3 s/b grilled chicken breasts, 1/2 inch cubes
(or 1 pkg precooked from the deli case)
1 small Bottle (1 cup) Bernstein's Italian Salad Dressing
1 TBL apple cider vinegar
Cook pasta al dente
Return pasta to pot and dress with 2 Tbls EV Olive Oil
Add remaining ingredients to pasta and stir to combine
Turn into a storage container [eg tupperware]
Chill for at least 3 hours.
1 Bunch fresh parsley
Cut off stems
Pulse in Food processor until finely chopped
Pass parley around table
Hot Cherry Pepper Slices
These are both real crowd pleasers, really
Picnic Macaroni Salad
What You Need
1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/3 cup Sweet Pickle Relish
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
8 slices Bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 tomato, chopped
PREPARE Dinner in large saucepan as directed on package.
STIR in remaining ingredients.
Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce.
ATK Macaroni Salad
(I love this recipe)
1 cup elbow macaroni (can use whole-wheat; I use ring pasta too)
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 T bbq sauce
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 tsp. chili powder
Bring 2 quarts water to boil in pot. Add macaroni and 1/2 tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook until tender. Drain macaroni in colander and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain briefly, so that macaroni is still moist, then transfer to large bowl. Add mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, scallions, and chili powder to bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.