|Easy Pasta Salad made with tri-colored noodles, Italian dressing and lots of summery veggies!|
This is a great go-to recipe for large groups for any time of the year. It is easy to make allergy-friendly (it is egg, nut, milk and fish-free, can can be soy - if you use all soy-free ingredients - and wheat-free, too (see variations below)), easy to make seasonal and makes a ton! What's not to love, right? It is definitely a crowd pleasure, too (I almost never have left-overs when I take it to a potluck or get-together), so that's worth bonus points for sure! :)
This is not a recipe I got from anyone exactly, just my version of one I had at a party many years ago. If I knew who made it first, I'd tell you, but I don't. All I can tell you is that this is my version, and I hope you love it! :)
Easy Pasta Salad
1 box (16 oz.) of your favorite egg-free noodles like elbow macaroni, tri-color rotini, etc.
(Please make sure that you pick a noodle that fits your individual allergen needs!)
1 bottle (16 oz.) of your favorite Italian dressing
(Please make sure that you pick an Italian dressing that fits your individual allergen needs!)
veggies of your choice in the amount of your choosing, chopped into bite-sized pieces, such as:
red onion, broccoli, carrots, green pepper, red pepper, yellow pepper, cucumber, squash, cauliflower, radishes, celery, fresh peas (snow or sugar snap or regular), fresh/cooked-and-cooled corn
(Basically use any veggie that you think will taste good with Italian dressing and pasta that fits your allergen needs.)
- Cook pasta according to desired doneness (I prefer al dente); drain.
- Run the pasta under cold water until it is cool to the touch.
- Combine pasta, veggies and Italian dressing (to taste) in a large bowl, and toss until all pasta and veggies are well-coated and veggies are evenly distributed in the pasta. (Note: I use about a Cup of each veggie that I want to add to the pasta salad, but you can use as much or as little as you like. Also, when adding the dressing, start with 1/3 to 1/2 the bottle of Italian dressing, taste, and add more if needed.)
- Chill pasta salad or enjoy right away. (Note: Pasta salad is best when allowed to sit overnight.)
Variations (Please keep all allergen needs in mind when using substitutions!):
- Wheat/Gluten-Free: Make sure to use a gluten-free Italian dressing (or make your own) and gluten-free pasta and make as directed.
- Soy-Free: Use a soy-free pasta and soy-free Italian dressing or make your own dressing (there are tons of recipes for them online, and I hope to figure out one of my own soon to share with you) and make as directed.
- Seasonal Pasta Salad: All you need to do is use or add the veggies that are in season to make this pasta salad seasonal. You can use any combination you want in any amount you want, so have fun playing with flavor combinations! :) I would not recommend using any veggie that is especially soft, though (i.e. avocado or anything cooked with the exception of corn) as it will definitely change how this pasta salad comes together, but even that is your call. If you try it, let me know how it goes! I'd love to know! :)
- Even More Options: You can change the type of dressing, too, if you wish to a Ranch, Balsamic, French, etc., if you can have them and don't like Italian. You can even add cheese and/or nuts/seed and/or bite-sized pieces of cooked meat like ham, chicken, turkey, salami, pepperoni etc. if you like them and can have them. Tons of options to choose from! Have fun playing around with them! :)
Isn't it pretty?
Makes you hungry, doesn't it?
Go ahead and make some today! You won't be sorry! Oh, and make sure you invite some friends over, because this really does make a TON! :)
What's your favorite pasta or regular salad?
Have a great weekend!