I love salads, but sometimes they can be a little too on the light side, and just a couple of hours after eating one, I am hungry again. That’s why I love pasta salad ideas. They are filling and satisfying. The best thing about them is their versatility.
Depending on the pasta salad ingredients of your choice, you can have a different one every time. In fact, the best pasta salad recipes are the ones born from improvisation.
Many fridge cleaning raids are the reason pasta salads are born. To me, this is the best pasta salad recipe I have come up with.
How To Make The Best Pasta Salad?
- I love using tri-colored pasta spirals for my salad. And the first thing to do is cook them al dente according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Wash, prep, and chop the cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, broccoli florets, and black olives while the pasta is cooking.
- In a small bowl, combine the salad seasoning mix with the Italian salad dressing.
- Place the drained pasta in a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the pasta, add the veggies and toss until everything is well combined.
- Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.
Making Pasta Salad In Advance
Actually, pasta salad tastes even better the second day. The pasta absorbs some of the liquid from the dressing, and the veggies stay crisp and crunchy. This is the perfect make-ahead salad recipe for a picnic or a potluck party.
Pasta Salad Recipe Variations:
- Play with your ingredients. Add white beans, carrots, and peas.
- Cold cuts like pepperoni or salami, cubes of mozzarella cheese, and top with freshly grated parmesan.
- Instead of adding salad dressing, try adding basil pesto or sun-dried tomato pesto diluted with a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
- Grilled artichokes and roasted tomatoes, and bell peppers are great additions.
- Pasta salads with mayo-based dressings are delicious. These work great with tuna or cooked shrimp, chopped onion, and celery.
- Go Asian by adding orange or mandarin wedges, chicken, nuts, and sesame oil-based dressings.
- Avocado, tomatoes, red onion, black olives, pineapple, and jalapenos go great with a pasta salad drizzled with honey-lime dressing.
- Try using cucumber, red onion, and dill with a mayo-lime-based dressing.
Pasta Salad Recipe
- 16 oz tri-colored pasta spirals
- 1- 1 oz packet salad seasoning mix
- 1- 16 oz bottle Italian style salad dressing
- ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 cups multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 red bell pepper, small diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, small diced
- 1- 2.25 oz can black olives, sliced
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- While the pasta is cooking, prep and chop your veggies.
- In a small bowl, combine the salad dressing mix with the Italian salad dressing.
- Pour the dressing mix into the bowl with the cooked pasta.
- Add the chopped veggies and toss until well combined. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.