Pasta Salad Recipes_________

These pasta salad recipes are versatile and always welcome. Pasta salads are just the thing on a brunch menu. 

Most pasta salads are best served lightly chilled or at room temperature.  Pasta salads become hearty dishes with the addition of canned solid tuna, diced chicken or pork and cooked shrimp. 

Serve salads on a bed lettuce with tomatoes and crunchy crackers.

Make Ahead Pasta Salad

  • Prepare the dressing for the salad according to recipe directions, up to 2 days in advance
  • Entire salad can be made one day in advance without dressing and without "watery" ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, mushrooms, soft cheese, etc.   Keep salad well covered in the refrigerator. Add
    additional ingredients and dressing just before serving.
  • Pasta can also be cooked 1 day ahead.  Drain well and add a little olive oil before refrigerating. 



Pizza Party Pasta Salad

Serves 6

1 pound rotini or other spiral-shaped pastas
3 ounces sliced pepperoni
4 ounces Provolone or extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, slice into thin rings or strips

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, stack pepperoni slices and cut into strips.  Slice the cheese into matchstick-size pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add Parmesan cheese, Italian dressing, Italian seasoning and garlic.  Mix lightly.

When pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water.  Drain pasta again and allow to cool.  Add pasta to cheese mixture and mix well.  Put pasta salad in a serving platter and garnish with cherry tomatoes halves and green pepper slices.


Chicken and Artichoke Pasta Salad
Serves 8

1 pound pasta shells
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 cups diced cooked chicken
6 ounces canned artichokes, chopped
Dash of hot pepper sauce
Toasted almonds

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but firm, 8 to 12 minutes.  Drain well and rinse with cold water. Shake out excess water and toss pasta with oil.   Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley and basil.  Place pasta in large bowl. Add mayonnaise mixture, chicken, artichokes and hot sauce.  

Toss well and garnish with almonds.   For a decorative presentation, serve in avocado halves, in tomato cups or on lettuce leaves.


Colorful Pasta Salad Recipe
Serves 6-8

1 7-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped
1 pound tricolor rotini or fusilli, or other short, colored pasta
2 cups bell pepper, mixed red, yellow and green, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped

Dressing
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons mince garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Dash hot pepper sauce
Fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl.  Add the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes if using and whisk thoroughly.   Drain the cooked pasta and rinse it under warm water and drain again. 

In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the bell peppers, red onions, tomatoes and basil.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.   Garnish with additional basil and serve.


Tortellini and Sautéed Vegetable Salad
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound cooked cheese tortellini
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add onion, zucchini, squash and bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, oregano.  Cook and stir for about 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.  

Toss with pasta and cheese.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


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