Food Recipes

Fast Easy Pasta Salad

Delicious and Vibrant Pasta Salad with Fresh Vegetables and Zesty Dressing

Pasta salad is a versatile and satisfying dish, perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a refreshing side for any meal. This recipe combines vibrant vegetables, creamy mozzarella, tangy olives, and a zesty homemade dressing for a flavorful experience that’s both easy to prepare and delightful to eat.

Introduction to Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a staple in many households for good reasonโ€”it’s quick to make, can be customized with various ingredients, and stays fresh for several days in the refrigerator. This version elevates the classic with a blend of fresh veggies, savory cheeses, and a tangy dressing that ties everything together beautifully.

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Choosing the Right Pasta and Ingredients

For the base of this pasta salad, choose sturdy pasta shapes like penne, rotini, fusilli, or farfalle (bow ties). These shapes have nooks and crannies that hold onto the dressing and other ingredients, ensuring each bite is packed with flavor. Alternatively, orzo can be used for a smaller pasta option that works well in salads.

Ingredients for Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound (16 oz) dried pasta (penne, rotini, fusilli, or farfalle)
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced (about 1 medium-sized pepper)
  • 1 cup zucchini, finely sliced (about half of a medium-sized zucchini)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup scallions, finely chopped (about 5-6 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup banana peppers or pepperoncini, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup varied olives (Kalamata or green), halved
  • 1 cup (4 oz) grated Parmesan cheese or any hard cheese
  • 1 cup (6 oz) fresh mozzarella balls, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley or basil, chopped (to taste)

Homemade Dressing

  • 1/3 cup vinegar (white, red wine, or champagne vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Optional: 2-3 teaspoons brine from jarred pepperoncini

Instructions for Making Pasta Salad on next page…

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