Pasta Salad is a vibrant and flavorful dish that’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a refreshing side dish for your summer barbecues. This particular recip
e combines the hearty texture of pasta with the zesty flavors of Italian dressing, and a mix of fresh and tangy ingredients like cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, salami, and olives. It’s a versatile dish that you can easily customize according to your preferences.
For the Pasta Salad:
1 pound uncooked pasta (rotini recommended)
3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese balls, cut in half
Fresh herbs (optional – such as parsley, basil, or chives)
Step 1: Cook the Pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Once cooked, drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down.
Step 2: Prepare the Salad Ingredients
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the other salad ingredients. Halve the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese balls, slice the kalamata olives and red onion, chop the parsley, and cut the salami or summer sausage into cubes. If using pepperoncini, slice them as well.
Step 3: Make the Italian Dressing
In a bowl or jar, combine 1 1/2 cups of olive oil, 1/4 cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt, minced garlic cloves (or garlic powder), 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons each of dry oregano and basil, and black pepper to taste. If using, add chopped fresh herbs. Whisk or shake well to combine.
Step 4: Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked and cooled pasta with the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, salami or summer sausage, olives, pepperoncini, red onion, and parsley. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine everything well.
Step 5: Chill and Serve
For the best flavor, cover and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 1 hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together.
Make sure not to overcook the pasta, as it should be firm and hold up well when mixed with the other ingredients.
Serve this Pasta Salad as a standalone dish or alongside grilled meats, sandwiches, or other picnic foods. It’s also great for a light lunch or as a side dish at dinner.
Pasta Choice: You can use other types of pasta like fusilli, penne, or farfalle.
Vegetable Variations: Feel free to add other vegetables like cucumbers, bell peppers, or artichoke hearts.
Dressing Adjustments: Adjust the seasoning in the dressing to taste. If it’s too tangy, add a bit more oil or sugar.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes (for the pasta)
Total Time: 30 minutes (plus chilling time)
Calories: Approximately 300-400 per serving (varies based on the serving size and specific ingredients used)
Protein: 10-15g per serving
Sodium: Varies based on the ingredients used, especially the salami and cheese
This Pasta Salad is a delightful and colorful dish that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. With its combination of fresh ingredients and zesty Italian dressing, it’s sure to be a hit at any gathering or a welcome addition to your meal rotation during the warmer months. Enjoy the mix of flavors and textures that make this salad a true standout!