Today's recipe is simple yet quite tasty and colorful. I like to have a few good salad recipes that I can whip up easily for a quick addition to spring and summer meals. This pasta salad has long been a family favorite with grilled foods, picnics or sandwiches. Tonight I wanted to make it for a meal I was taking over to a friend’s house. Several friends were coming to help her move. Pasta salad is quick to make and easy to take with me so it worked well and tasted great!
This salad is very adaptable. Choose any of the listed ingredients to include or come up with your own unique additions!
Pasta salad with vinaigrette
12 oz or so tri –color rotini spiral pasta (or plain if you can’t find the multi-colored)
1/2 -3/4 cup vinaigrette * or Italian dressing
Choose all or most of these to add:
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts
½ or more of one large can black olives
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red or sweet onion, thinly sliced or diced
1 cucumber – peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or crushed
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. each salt, garlic powder, onion, powder
Some other optional add-ins:
5 oz. or so grape tomatoes or 1 large plum tomato, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup mild pickled peppers, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced or grated
4-6 oz. pepperoni slices (turkey pepperoni is good for less fat. Cut each slice in half)
½- 1 cup mozzarella, cut In 1/2 Inch Cubes
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to box instructions and drain. You may choose to rinse briefly in cold water OR place it un-rinsed in a large bowl. Immediately pour vinaigrette over pasta. You may refrigerate at this point and then add vegetables and other items a couple hours before serving. Next, prep whatever veggies you choose to add, chopping into bite sized pieces. Add at least five items for best results. Wait for pasta to cool before adding cheese or pepperoni. Once you have added everything you wish to include, place salad in refrigerator until serving.
*To make a vinaigrette
1-2 TBSN. wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1 TBSN balsamic vinegar
1 clove pressed garlic,
Italian Herbs, salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar or honey, optional
1 tsp. mustard, optional
Shake or whisk well.
Add 3-4 Tbsp. light olive oil, while whisking and/or shake very well.
If you need to you can use bottled Italian dressing: Good seasonings Italian or Newman's Own dressing are good choices.
Recipe By Denise Birdsall