Simple Pasta Salad
This colorful and very easy to prepare Simple Pasta Salad is a crowd pleaser when I serve it at cookouts and other get togethers.
I prepare the Tri-Color Rotini Pasta according to package directions, dice the cheese and pepperoni, and then quickly assemble. I can do this in advance of the gathering, cover with plastic wrap and pop into the fridge, and it’s ready to serve at meal time. It’s also very easy to personalize.
Change up the pasta shape, cheeses, or meats (Ham and Salami work well) or just add ingredients to this recipe to fit your personal taste.
If you make it often like I do, pick up the Olive Garden Salad Dressing at your local wholesale club, if they have it. Our Sam’s Club regularly carries it and I use it for a variety of recipes, so there is usually 3-4 bottles in my pantry at any given time.
1 Box Noodles
1 Block Cheddar Cheese
1 Pepperoni Stick
1 Bottle Olive Garden Dressing
Take 1 box of boiled noodles and place them in a large bowl.
Slice the block of cheese. Pour your cheddar cheese into the bowl.
Slice the pepperoni stick. Then pour your pepperoni into the bowl.
Add the entire bottle of Olive Garden Dressing. Mix well.
Serve with sprinkled Parmesan cheese & enjoy!
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 40Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 66mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g
Tips to Make the Perfect Pasta Salad
- Cut the meats, cheeses, and any added veggies into small but uniform sizes to ensure that you get a taste of everything in each bite!
- Don’t overcook your noodles – You don’t want them to be mushy, and the acidic nature of the Italian dressing breaks down starches even further, so you want the pasta to be al dente.
- When straining the cooked noodles, shock them with a shot of cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Let the cooked pasta cool before adding the other toppings so you don’t melt the cheese or cook any vegetables you might decide to toss in.
- Preparing in advance and refrigerating prior to serving not only frees you up as guests arrive, it also allows the dressing to marinate into all of the ingredients, resulting in a more flavorful and yummy pasta salad!
- I love making it as colorful as possible, which is one of the reasons I use the tri-color rotini in mine. In this one I used cheddar and pepperoni for contrasting colors, but to make even more colorful, consider some colored peppers, carrots, broccoli, red onion, sun dried or grape tomatoes, or olives!
These are a few items I find helpful in my own kitchen when preparing this Simple Pasta Salad Recipe:
Barilla Tri-Color Pasta, Rotini, 12 OunceOlive Garden Signature Italian Salad Dressing, 20 Ounce (Pack of 2)Freshware Bamboo Cutting Board – Wood Chopping Boards for Food Prep, Meat, Vegetables, Fruits, Crackers & Cheese, Set of 3J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 31161-201 CLASSIC Chef’s Knife, 8 Inch, Black(2 Packs) DOWAN 2-1/2 Quart Porcelain Serving Bowls – Salad/Pasta Bowl Set, White, Stackablecusinine Heart 2-in-1 Silicone Food Tongs, transform from tongs to cooking spoons, salad servers, tongs, fork and spoon, all in 1