There is something comforting and addictive about vinegary pasta salads, and I find myself eating them at least once a week. Cold Italian-style pasta salad is my favorite, and if I see it on a menu, I order it; if I have the ingredients on hand, I make it; if it’s left out unattended on your dining table, I steal it.
Cold Italian pasta salad is an easy and refreshing dish at any time of the year, and it’s also a great recipe for entertaining friends. My version of Italian Pasta Salad can be prepared in advance, and transported and assembled on-site, making it a perfect choice for picnics or potlucks.
ITALIAN PASTA SALAD RECIPE
The Basics: These are the ingredients I always include in my Italian Pasta Salad recipe
1 cup of grape or cherry tomatoes – halved across the poles
1 hot-house (English) cucumber – halved, seeded and cut into ¼ inch half-moons
1 large red bell pepper – diced into ¼ inch cubes
1 head of romain lettuce – cut into ½ inch squares
1 can of black olives – rinsed, and halved across the poles
2 cups of dried fussili, macaroni, penne, or farfalle pasta – cooked al-dente, according to the package instructions
The Extras: These ingredients are also great as additions or substitutions to the above list
1 cup mozzarella or provolone cheese - diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup sweet potato – boiled until soft, peeled, and diced into ½ inch cubes
1 cup broccoli flourettes
1 cup asparagus – blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water, and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup fresh corn
1 cup sweet onion – diced into 1/8 inch cubes
1 cup celery – diced into 1/8 inch cubes
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes – diced into ¼ inch cubes
HOMEMADE ITALIAN SALAD DRESSING RECIPE
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar (red wine vinegar is also good)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion power
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
METHOD – Make the Salad Dressing
METHOD – Assemble the Salad
After prepping all of the ingredients as indicated above, either combine them all into a large bowl if you are eating the salad immediately, or store individually in plastic bags for later use.
Storing all of the ingredients in individual plastic bags or containers prior to assembly ensure the maximum freshness of the salad. If you are transporting the salad to a picnic or potluck, leave the ingredients in their separate containers and assemble at the event.
When you are ready to eat the salad, toss all of the ingredients together and pour the salad dressing on top.
Finish by fixing yo’self a big bowl of magic!