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A Tasty Summer Pasta Salad

The heat of summer and the increased opportunity for casual outdoor eating beg for a pasta salad. Most people I know have their go-to favorite. Mine is this Italian Pasta Salad made with tri-color pasta. 

I love how colorful this pasta salad is to start. It is a feast for the eyes. Taste it and you'll realize your eyes did not deceive you. The flavors in this salad are a feast for your taste buds.  No boring salads are allowed on my table!

My Italian Pasta Salad with Tri-Color Rotini

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Italian Pasta Salad
A Summer Pasta Salad Packed with Flavor
I always make this Italian Pasta Salad with tri-color pasta because it adds to the visual appeal. You don't have to choose tri-color, but choose a pasta with some substance. I like rotini or bowtie pasta. You want a pasta with a surface that will absorb the flavor of the dressing.

Choose colorful vegetables.  For today's pasta, I used red bell pepper, English cucumber, grape tomatoes, red onion, and black olives.  Some blanched asparagus would be nice.  Some yellow and orange bell peppers would be nice.  Choose a combination of colors that appeal to you.
An Italian Pasta Salad Packed with Flavor

I like to add a little spiciness with either pepperoni or Genoa salami. Today I chose pepperoni. I also like to add some cheese.  For this salad, I chose mozzarella cheese, but chunks of provolone would also be nice.

Your dressing is important. You want to choose an Italian dressing that is packed with flavor. You can make your own, but I always choose a preferred brand of bottled Italian dressing. This is an easy summer salad and there really is no need to add an extra step.

Add some fresh herbs if you have them.  This time of year I have parsley and basil growing in pots on my deck.  I also have some chives in my garden.  Chop up a little of whatever you have for some fresh-from-the-garden flavor.

Finally, make this salad a day ahead of serving.  You want to give it time for the flavors to distribute throughout the salad.

Donna's Italian Pasta Salad


Printer Friendly Recipe

1-lb tri-color pasta, rotini or bowtie
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
1 cup oil-based Italian dressing, your favorite
1/2 English cucumber, seeds removed and diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 can black olives, halved or sliced
4 ounces sliced pepperoni, quartered
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
a generous handful of fresh, chopped herbs like basil, parsley, and chives


Directions

A day before you plan to serve the salad, cook your pasta as directed on the package in boiling, salted water.  While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables.

Drain the pasta and pour it into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the dressing, while the pasta is still hot, tossing to distribute well. Set aside to cool.

Mixing the Italian Pasta Salad
Combine the Ingredients Well

When the pasta has cooled to room temperature, add the rest of the ingredients and 1/4 cup of Italian dressing. Reserve the rest of the dressing for just before you serve the pasta salad. Toss well, making sure everything is well coated with the dressing and all the ingredients are well distributed throughout the salad. Cover and chill.

Before serving, stir the salad and taste.  Does it need more dressing?  If yes, add the remaining 1/4 cup of Italian dressing and stir to combine.  I like to serve this salad in a glass bowl because it is so colorful.  Garnish with some fresh herbs.

Get more salad ideas from my Salads Pinterest Board.


Thanks for sharing this yummy salad on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Yummly!


Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Looks really good! I've come around to using bottled salad dressing, too, for pasta salads. It just has more flavor then oil and vinegar combos. I like the Olive Garden Italian dressing...very flavorful. Happy 4th to you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is absolutely delicious!!! It is also super easy.

    ReplyDelete

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