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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Classic Summer Pasta Salad

I have a really good friend here in town.  Her babies and my babies play together often.  We sit at each other tables and chat while chaos ensues in other areas of the house.  We complain about our husbands and help clean up each other's kid's messes.

We have also done a fair share of cooking and baking together.  I'm not quite sure why we tackle such when we have 5 kids running around our ankles, but we do it anyway.

A few weeks back she was making pasta salad, an easy, simple pasta salad, and one that I hadn't made in years.  You see, it is pasta salad season.  There are about one million recipes out there for various bowls of this cold, tangy stuff, but I think this version is quite possibly the most simple.

And here's the kicker.  You can make it anyway you want!  Can't handle cheese?  Omit it. Love your veggies?  Pile them in!  The possibilities are endless.

Honestly there are just two main ingredients for this salad.  Noodles and Italian dressing. That is it.  The rest are just add-ins.

You could certainly just do the first two, but it would be quite boring, so I do not recommend it.  Play with this salad, add what you want!  First let me tell you what I usually put in it, kind of our staple ingredients.

Diced cucumber, diced tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese, cubed mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  That's it.  But below I have listed endless options for toppings. I've used them all over the years!

Sliced pepperoni or salami, diced bell pepper, chopped broccoli, crumbled feta, cubed ham, sliced black or green olives, freshly chopped dill, chopped dill pickle, banana peppers, peas, crumbled bleu cheese, leftover diced chicken......

See?  The list could go on forever.

But if you have trouble deciding, here is my go-to version.  See if you like it!

Classic Summer Pasta Salad

Print this Recipe!

1 lb. uncooked pasta {any shape works}
1 bottle Italian dressing
1 cucumber, finely diced
1 tomato, finely diced
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder

1.  Cook pasta noodles till al dente.  Remove from boiling water, drain and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.
2.  In a large bowl combine noodles, 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing and all remaining ingredients.
3.  Toss to coat.
4.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
5.  Before serving pour remaining dressing into the salad and toss to coat.  The noodles will soak up a lot of the dressing while sitting and will need another bath:)
6.  Serve cold.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Sounds wonderful - my girls would love it!

  2. I fricken love pasta salad - hooray for pasta salad season! I am loving Finley's dark hair!