Pasta Salad for Barbecue
I have made Tom Douglas' Macaroni Salad recipe for the past few years. It's got a creamy buttermilk dressing. It never fails to elicit multiple requests for the recipe. I usually add halved cherry tomatoes and sub arugula for the mache/spinach.
Here's a link
I make a version of Confetti Pasta Salad.
I like to use red/green/yellow/orange diced peppers for color. I also added some dill relish (I love dill). You can change up the type of pasta you use. Sometimes I use the ditalini, other times I use tri-colored rotini, small shells, elbow macaroni or whatever you like that would make it kid friendly.
I also do one like pagesinthesun's post, which is very good. I add a jar of pimentos as well. As you can tell, I love colorful salads.
My kids (4 and 5 years old) favorite pasta salad:
1 box tri-color rotini cooked, drained, rinsed and cooled
1 tin boneless skinless sardines in oil, drained and mashed
3/4 cup mayo
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 dill pickles, chopped
Combine everything, and let it rest for a few hours in the fridge. They'll never know the fishies are in there, but they add so much flavor. Seriously, my kids will eat an entire batch just the two of them.
My usual pasta salad has large shells or cavatappi, halved grape tomatoes, cubed feta, and a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper. When the tomatoes and feta leak a little delicious juice to combine with those ingredients in the salad bowl, it makes a very pleasant and fresh salad dressing. I usually also add copious amounts of fresh herbs (cilantro or basil), halved olives, and some green vegetable like peas, asparagus, celery, or edamame.
I don't have kids, but if you leave out the herbs and olives and select the green vegetable that your kid likes best, I bet it will be a hit :) Generally, kids like food that they can identify easily and possibly pick out each ingredient to eat one at a time. That's easier with a non-creamy pasta salad.
Yah... I forgot the Grape Tomatoes and the fresh basil - those are certainly needed
for Pasta I prefer Farfalle, the Cork Screw, al Ceppo (one I had to look up) Love this shape for Mac & Cheese too.
Also, I normally crumble a bit of feta into the dressing before I add the pasta..... so it's part of the dressing. I love pasta salad here and there... if it's done right of course.
>>pasta al ceppo Pronunciation: PAH-stah al CHAY-poh Notes: This means "pasta on a stick" in Italian, and this tubular pasta was originally made by wrapping dough around knitting needles.
I don't like creamy / mayo based pasta salad either.
Pasta Salad with Feta, Sundried Tomatoes, and Arugula.
Dressing - One head of roasted Garlic, Dejon, Red Wine Vinegar, 1/4 cup Evoo, Salt & Pepper. 1 tblspoon of Sugar or Honey, Lemon juice to taste. Fresh Parsely.
Any Combo of Veg's I love roasted Peppers (you can actually chop them very fine to be part of the dressing).
1 lb of of your choice of pasta (I like Rottini )
4 0z's of feta or more depending on Taste
- Small handful of of Kalamata Olives Pitted and chopped
4-5 Sundried Tomatoes chopped (or more according to your taste.
- 4 0z's or so of fresh Argula
You might sub the kalamata's for regular canned, store bought olives - kids prefer them.
Method, boil the pasta while at the same time make the dressing (you want to add hot pasta to the dressing - it wiill combine the flavors).
I throw in the argula just before servng.
Definition of BBQ. Mine at least. Fatty poultry, pork or beef cooked over a carcinogenic heat source. Majority of sauces consisting of copious amounts of salt and sugar. Served in huge portions with bacon mixed into all of the sides, especially the beans. Pulled pork to be served on Wonder Bread equivalent topped with mayo slaw that has been in the sun at least 2 hours. Accompanied by sweetened ice tea that is so thick it will support a spoon or cheapest lite beer from a cooler of dirty ice.
Somehow, I have never equated Southern BBQ as a healthy, refreshing experience. More as over the top indulgence.
raw to cooked shrinks considerably -- you lose probably at least 50%.
have worked events where we served blts's on japanese spoons and they were big hits. just the lettuce, tomato, bacon and mayo. if i were the op, i'd do this in a bowl and skip the pasta entirely. if the op wants to be fiddly, you can also fill cherry tomatoes with bacon, mayo and top with lettuce chiffonade.
re: c oliver
the only thing we ever put mayo on was tuna from a can. :) i swear, a jar would last for years.
1st time i ever forced myself to try "pasta salad", add insult to injury -- it was made with miracle whip. so many off-putting things in one mouthful!
quite a different childhood food repertoire than that of my german/lutheran b/f!
I, too, am wondering what "kid friendly" means for a pasta salad. Other than my daughter (who is now 8 and eats everything), I don't know too many 3 year olds that even eat pasta salad. My son (age 6) wouldn't eat pasta salad of any sort to save his life (yet he loves hot cooked pasta!).
That being said, these 2 recipes are always big hits (but obviously any pasta would work)
Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta, Green Onions
i'm with those kids and think pasta salad is both an oxymoron and a crime against nature. the name just got gussied up from "macaroni salad", which is what it was called when i was a kid. growing up italian-american, we never made it, but when we saw it at other people's homes we always called it "protestant food." after very little time, the pasta just gets gloppy and soft. blech.
orzo or cous cous take better to this sort of thing, with lots of fresh herbs and citrus zest.
I like to use Marzetti's Sweet Italian dressing, along with a generous handful of grated romano in the pasta. Then some sliced black olives, a well drained jar of pimento, shredded or cubed provolone, and some finely chopped broccoli florets (or some chopped canned artichokes).
FYI, if you decide not to go with the pasta salad, Walmart carries a southwestern chop salad kit that goes great with BBQ. It comes with all the topings, including some chili seasoned fried wonton strips, shredded cheese and a southwestern dressing. I think there is cabbage, romaine, cilantro and green onions in the mix. It's kind of like a cross between a salad and a slaw.
What does "kid friendly" mean? Do you just mean something easy to eat? Or is it taste, ingredients? I like thinner pastas than rigatoni or penne for pasta salad because they're clunky as a big bite of cold salad. There are some fun pasta shapes for kids, like pin wheels. Would tortellini work? That makes a good salad.
This is my go to pasta salad.
Sorry, measurements, I really just throw it together to taste
Pasta (I like Farfalle best)
Fresh Baby Spinach (equal to pasta in volume)
Shredded Parm and or Pecorino Romano
Grape Tomatoes (halve if too large)
Girards Light Champage Dressing
(I've made my own vinagrette, but I like this one best)
Always a big hit at summer BBQ's:
Italian Pasta Salad
I use corkscrew pasta, but others would work fine.
small cubes of cheddar and mozzarella
quartered salami and pepperoni
halved cherry tomatoes
diced red onion
can of black olives
pepperoncini pepper rings
homemade italian dressing (or bottled is fine) The recipe really soaks up the dressing. I usually use the whole recipe (2 cups of dressing)
I get requests from hosts of BBQ's to make this pasta salad. Obviously, there are many other additions or subtractions that you can make to the recipe depending on your preferences. Add grilled asparagus or other veggies. Just imagine what you like on an anitpasti platter and turn it into a pasta salad!
Roasted sweet peppers, roasted sweet corn cut from the cob. Use coleslaw dressing. And find a pasta shape that will get your chow pup excited. Mickey Mouse pasta was a big hit, but I live next door to the mouse so procurement was never an issue.
Call your local sources for their options, as well as what they can order for you. Dear Daughter also enjoyed the radiator shape in a variety of colors at that age.
I absolutely agree with this. I was at a BBQ for a graduation this weekend, and the stuff I would have loved in a pasta salad back in the olden days (crunchy celery, little chunks of cheese/pepperoni, scallions) weren't touched with a nine and a half foot pole by the under-eight set.
IndianRiverFl's ideas of a mild dressing, cute pasta shapes and mild vegs seems spot on. Maybe bring a zipped up version for the grownups since it's a (relatively) cheap to make dish?
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.
I'm personally not a fan of mayonnaise based pasta salads . . .
I've never really used a recipe for pasta salad though. I usually just grill any vegetables I have around (or keep the raw depending on the vegetable) and toss with a vinaigrette - top with some shaved parmesan cheese and call it a day.
My other option is always pasta tossed with pesto and halved cherry tomatoes. You can always add some mozzarella if you want as well.
You can use any pasta shape you want with either and both are good slightly chilled or at room temp too.