This is a tasty easy pasta salad recipe perfect for hot summer evenings or toting to picnics and potlucks. It makes a big batch of cold pasta salad that keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.
My mom started making cold pasta salad sometime back in the 1970s and I’ve been a fan ever since.
The key to good pasta salad is to add lots of flavorful ingredients or it can be boring and bland, a common problem with a lot of the pasta salads sold at grocery store deli counters.
I think this is one of the best pasta salad recipes ever because it is full of tasty, colorful vegetables – red and green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives – and dressed with a tangy vinaigrette.
You could make it with whole wheat or gluten free pasta too.
Summer Pasta Salad Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 generous servings
Don’t be put off my the long list of ingredients.
Many of them are just dried spices for the homemade dressing. To make this easy cold pasta salad even easier, you could always opt to use your favorite brand of bottled Italian salad dressing for the homemade one, which is what I’ve been known to do when I’m feeling lazy and hungry.
You may want to go ahead and add the Parmesan with bottled dressing, it’s totally up to you.
For the dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
1 pound pasta (corkscrews, shells, tubes, bow ties, or your favorite shape)
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 english cucumber, chopped
1 basket cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
6 ounces kalamata olive, pitted and chopped
1/4 pound monterey jack cheese, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt and cook the pasta until al dente. When it is done drain it and let it cool somewhat.
Meanwhile make the dressing by mixing the first nine ingredients (olive oil through freshly ground pepper) and the marinade from the jar of artichoke hearts together in a small bowl with a whisk.
Then get to work chopping the vegetables and cheese.
While the pasta is still warm, toss it with the dressing. Once the pasta has cooled to room temperature, add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Chill before serving.
More Easy Salad Recipes
Easy Salad with Brown Rice, Tomatoes and Basil
Old Fashioned Potato Salad
Greek Potato Salad
Shredded Romaine Salad
Shrimp Salad Recipes, Easy & Delicious -a great collection of easy shrimp salad recipes in a variety of styles
Do you have any easy pasta salad recipes to share?
*PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT Weight Watchers Zero Points fruits and vegetables using the WW Recipe Builder.
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