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Pasta Salad for Barbecue

I need an idea for a pasta salad to go along with some pulled pork barbecue. Needs to be kid friendly for my three year old son. Preferably something with penne or rigatoni so that little ones can easily get it on their fork.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1 Reply
      1. re: laliz

        This sounds great..I do something similar with Frank's hot sauce in place of the BBQ, but I never would have thought of this..

      2. 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.

        2 Replies
        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

          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?

          1. re: pinehurst

            Good point Pinehurst.

            A bowl of mango habanero salsa so the guests can spice it up to their liking.

            June in Florida means mangos are central to everything.

        2. 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!

          1 Reply
          1. re: pagesinthesun

            This is similar to what I do too, Pages. To make it more kid-friendly, OP may want to substitute cucumber chunks in place of the pepper rings.

          2. 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)
            Pine Nuts
            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)