Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Pasta Salad Recipe with Italian Dressing

Perfect for a potluck or a side dish at a barbecue, this pasta salad will have everyone coming back for seconds. Tri-color pasta, pepperoni, olives, tomatoes, cheese and cucumbers. All coated with a tangy/sweet modified Italian dressing. You gotta try this twist on the classic pasta salad recipe.

Pasta salad recipe with Italian dressing

The warm weather is here and with it comes BBQ season. I love the ease and simplicity that comes with grilling.  And I LOVE the side dishes.

Especially this easy pasta salad. It's NOT your average "dump a bottle of dressing on the pasta" salad. There are a few special ingredients that bring this salad over the top. Don't worry it's still pretty darn easy.

This salad pairs well with my marinated grilled chicken or these chicken bacon sandwiches. It's also a great side to take to a pot luck (It always gets gobbled up).

It's easy to make ahead of time (see my make-ahead instructions below). For a printable recipe, scroll to the very bottom of the post.




Pasta Salad Recipe with Italian Dressing


Classic pasta salad with an amazing secret sauce

Let's talk about the sauce for a minute. I start with a bottle of roasted red pepper Italian dressing. But then we doctor it up a bit.

First, there is the addition of some brown sugar. That may sound odd, but it is THE key to this pasta salad. The sugar balances out the tangy, vinegar flavor and makes the salad irresistible.

In addition to the sugar, I also add parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper. The black pepper is another key to this salad. I really prefer fresh-ground pepper. It gives it a bit of a kick that pairs so nicely with the other ingredients.







Easy Pasta Salad




H2 - How to Make Pasta Salad 



Begin with the pasta. You can use any variety you like. I'm partial to the tri-color rotini pasta. Cook the pasta according the the directions on the box. Drain and run under cold water to cool the pasta. Then toss it in a large bowl.

pasta salad ingredients - noodles


While the pasta is cooking, it's a great time to chop your other ingredients. There are a few staples that I just have to have in my pasta salad. Namely pepperoni and olives. However, you really can add whatever you like. Just chop it up into bite sized pieces and toss them in.

Ingredients for pasta salad

The first five ingredients are my favorite in pasta salad. The rest are other ideas that you may like. Use what you have and don't get hung up on whether you have everything. 

  • pasta
  • pepperoni
  • olives
  • cucumbers
  • mushrooms
  • cheese, any variety 
  • tomatoes
  • green peppers
  • salami
  • ham cubes
  • onion





pasta salad ingredients - pepperoni, cheese, tomato, olives, cucumber


Ingredients for the pasta salad dressing

  • 1 bottle Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. fresh ground pepper
Toss all the dressing ingredients together.
pasta salad sauce ingredients


Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl until everything is coated with the dressing.




Italian pasta salad with pepperoni




Can I make pasta salad the day before?

Absolutely.  But there's a bit of a trick to it. Pasta salad tends to soak up the moisture of the dressing the longer it sits.

If I'm making it ahead of time, I will squirt in just enough of the red pepper dressing on the noodles to lightly coat them so they don't stick together. I add all of the veggies and pepperoni. Then I cover it and put it in the fridge. I mix the dressing ingredients in another bowl and place it in the fridge.

When it's time to eat, I'll add the the dressing mixture to the noodle mixture and stir to combine.  That's it! An easy way to avoid dry pasta salad!

This method seems to help with leftovers not being too dry as well. The pasta just seems to soak up less of the dressing.



Easy pasta salad recipe PLUS tips to avoid dry pasta

More FAQ's

How long does pasta salad last in the fridge? 

Pasta salad can last up to 5 days in the fridge. I prefer to eat it within 3 days. 

How do you cool pasta down for pasta salad?

My favorite way is to run it under cold water.

How do you keep pasta from being dry or soaking up the dressing?

I use a small amount of the Italian dressing to coat the noodles. Let them cool completely in the fridge, then add the dressing mixture right before serving. (See above for more details). 

When eating leftovers, stir it up. The dressing often falls to the bottom of the bowl, so mix it back into the pasta. You can always add a bit more dressing too, if your leftovers are dry.


Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing Recipe

I generally make 1/2 of this recipe for our family of six. If I'm taking it to a potluck, then I make the full batch or double it, depending on the size of the gathering.

Pasta Salad Recipe with Italian Dressing

Yield: 12
Author:
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 35 M
Perfect for a potluck or a side dish at a barbeque, this pasta salad will have everyone coming back for seconds.

ingredients:

Pasta Salad
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 c. pepperoni, chopped
  • 1/4 c. olives
  • 1/2 c. cucumbers
  • 1/2 c. mushrooms
  • 1/2 c. cheese 
  • 1/4 c. tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 c. green peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 c. salami, chopped
  • 1/2 c. ham cubes
  • 1/4 c. onion, diced
Dressing
  • 1 bottle Kraft roasted red pepper dressing
  • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper

instructions:

How to cook Pasta Salad Recipe with Italian Dressing

Pasta Salad
  1. Cook pasta  according to directions on box.
  2. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool pasta.
  3. Chop up the remaining ingredients into bite-sized pieces. (You will want 2-3 c. worth of veggies/meat)
  4. In a large bowl, combine pasta, veggies and meat.
Dressing
  1. Mix together all dressing ingredients.
  2. Pour over noodles and stir well.
  3. Best served cold.

NOTES:

Besides the noodles and the dressing ingredients, everything else is optional. Use what you have on hand, or what you think sounds yummy. Making pasta salad ahead of time: Squirt in just enough of the red pepper dressing on the noodles to lightly coat them so they don't stick together. Add all of the veggies and pepperoni. Then cover and place in the fridge. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and place it in the fridge. When it's time to eat, add the the dressing mixture to the noodle mixture and stir to combine. That's it! An easy way to avoid dry pasta salad! This method seems to help with leftovers not being too dry as well. The pasta just seems to soak up less of the dressing.

Calories

241.80

Fat (grams)

13.47

Sat. Fat (grams)

5.04

Carbs (grams)

19.82

Fiber (grams)

1.25

Net carbs

18.57

Sugar (grams)

6.22

Protein (grams)

10.34

Sodium (milligrams)

549.13

Cholesterol (grams)

33.86
Nutrition information is generated automatically and is not guaranteed to be accurate.
Pasta salad recipe with Italian dressing, classic pasta salad, Italian pasta salad with pepperoni, tri-color pasta salad with Italian dressing, easy pasta salad recipe
Side Dishes
American
Created using The Recipes Generator

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1 comment :

  1. Your Pasta Salad looks delicious, great flavors! Thanks for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and have a great week!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete