View Full Version : Pasta Salad, anyone?

06-05-2008, 02:17 AM
I can cook well enough to remain alive - seeing as how I'm, yanno, alive - but I'm not real good at figuring things out without a recipe or years of practice.

So when I ask if anyone here has a good recipe for pasta salad - it's because I love pasta salad, but whenever I think "Hey, how hard can this be?" I end up standing in the kitchen staring at a bag of noodles, giving up, and taking a bag of chips to the couch to pout.

Which leads me to start a thread here, asking for people's pasta salad tips and recipies. And please speak to me as if I were a slow learner held back 3 years, because in the kitchen, I'm right about there.

In thanks, as soon as I can find it in my sister's drawer of recipes, I'll gladly post a recipe for Creamy Potato Soup for the Lactose Intolerate (or dairy allergic types) among us.

06-05-2008, 02:29 AM
First . . . cook the pasta . . .

Just kidding!

Well, I like a Greek style pasta salad. But, really, you make make it anyway you want . . . just add the typical salad items that you like (cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, cheese, whatever), and maybe a pinch or two of some spices (oregano, basil), to the pasta, and use any kind of oil-based dressing you like, maybe just some olive oil.

I did a quick Google search and found one similar to, but not quite, what I like:

1/4 lb. dried pasta, such as tubes, wagon-wheel or shell shaped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup cucumbers, sliced, then quartered
1/2 cup California ripe olives, wedged
4 oz. Feta cheese,crumbled
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
3-4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. dried mint
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 cup olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions. Combine with the next 6 ingredients. Whisk together lemon juice and seasonings. Whisk in oil. Pour dressing on salad and toss gently to mix. Adjust seasonings to taste. Note: Add more lemon juice if salad loses lemony-tartness upon standing.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

06-05-2008, 02:33 AM
I had some great pasta salad the other day made with tortellini. Maybe I can track down the recipe...

But when I make pasta salad, for the simplest version, I usually boil some pasta, throw in some cherry tomatoes and whatever other veggies you like, and toss it all with a (non-creamy) italian dressing.

06-05-2008, 02:36 AM
Ok, pasta salad..let me think...

1 can tuna in water, drained
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted (make sure they're cold before you add them to the salad)
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup green onions, diced
2 cups cooked pasta, drained and cooled
cucumber salad dressing
sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Throw all the solid ingredients together and mix in enough of the dressing and sour cream to coat everything well. I came up with this back when eggs were a no no for me. You can add other stuff to it as well. Different colored peppers (red, yellow, orange), sliced radishes, celery...use your imagination and don't injure yourself in the kitchen.

06-05-2008, 04:20 AM
Pasta salad is yummy. And, there are so many variations, you can, pretty much, throw anything in it and not go wrong.
I tend to go for an Italian flavor in my cooking, so I'd recommend something like this:
Pasta, maybe a rotini or fusilli, cooked , drained and cooled
Firm Ripe tomatoes, sliced into fairly good size pieces
Kalamata Olives, whole or cut in half
Fresh Basil, torn into medium size pieces
Buffalo Mozzarella or fresh mozzarella, cut into bite size pieces (Trader Joes has several sizes of the fresh Mozzarella in little tubs. You can even get bite size pieces. So good)
Mix all of the above ingredients and then add,
Olive Oil or Olive Oil and Balsalmic Vinegar or Italian dressing (Whatever you like best)
Chill for about an hour.

06-05-2008, 04:30 AM
Ooooo. All of those with sundried tomato and herb dressing. Now that sound ultra yummy. Thanks for kicking the old taste buds into gear.

06-05-2008, 07:03 AM
Mexican Pasta Salad

Pesto Dressing
1 c. cilantro leaves
1/2 c. almonds
1 clove garlic
olive oil
Combine all in a food processor to make a pesto.

2 c. cooked rotini or fusili
1 c. black beans
1 tomato, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 c. pepper jack cheese, diced

Mix all together (gently) with pesto. Serve with limes to squeeze.

All 4 food groups covered! Travels pretty well too!

06-05-2008, 05:50 PM
Ooh, these all sound good :D

06-06-2008, 08:13 AM
I hate to admit this, but I cheat. Kraft makes an awesome bacon and ranch pasta salad, so I buy that, add more bacon crumbles to it and a cut up tomato. Instead of mixing the ranch packet with mayonnaise, I mix with ranch dressing. It makes the flavor a little bolder. We love it around here, but it is cheating.

06-06-2008, 08:56 AM
We love it around here, but it is cheating.

There's nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time with doctored instant mashed potatoes. I'm always looking for shortcuts to reduce prep time in the kitchen.

06-06-2008, 05:48 PM
Nothing wrong with saving time in the kitchen, nothing at all. brianm, try using flavored cream cheese in your potatoes instead of the milk. Herb and garlic tastes great...if you like garlic.

06-06-2008, 06:59 PM
There's nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time with doctored instant mashed potatoes. I'm always looking for shortcuts to reduce prep time in the kitchen.

Here's an easy recipe to play with: Hungarian Potato Dumplings, Sort Of

1 cup instant mashed potatoes
1 cup flour
I cup water
1 egg

Mix together.
With wet hands, form dumplings the size of walnuts.
Bring salted water to a boil, simmer dumplings uncovered about five minutes until they float.
Cut one in half to check for doneness.

IMP are good for thickening soups, too. *glares at Rachel Ray*

06-06-2008, 07:25 PM
Mine is pretty basic.

I'm assuming you can get the macaroni/pasta part done.

I add:
Miracle Whip
Chopped Onion
Sweet Pickle Relish
Salt/Pepper/Garlic Salt/WhateverElseIsOnHand

If I remember to boil eggs, I'll toss one or two of those in (sans shell, of course)

Cooked shrimp is awesome and depending on the size you can leave them whole, or cut them.

I've even added chopped apple, which is great and adds a bit of a crunch

I just taste as I go, which means by the time I sit down to eat it with a meal, I don't even want to look at it any longer.

06-07-2008, 12:38 PM
Tasty, quick and easy-stores well and makes great lunch, dinner or midnight snack.

Chicken Pasta Salad
(I can't believe how little i use measurements so the amounts can be varied to your personal taste.)
3 cups colored twisty corkscrew pasta(1 bag, i think)
1 head of cauliflower roughly cut
1 head of broccoli roughly cut
1 red onion diced(1/2 onion finely cut for less bite)
2 cups of chicken
1 cup italian dressing
1 cup mayo

mix mayo and dressing together and toss with above ingredients
optional ingredients
tomato, diced or cherry
black olives
grated carrots
bacon bits


06-08-2008, 05:38 AM
This isn't how I make mine, but this is the recipe that got me started:

Dunkley's Famous Macaroni Salad (http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_14130,00.html)

Silver King
06-11-2008, 03:04 AM
I'm not big on pasta salads, but my wife makes one that is simple and very tasty:

I lb. cooked spaghetti noodles
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 handful cherry tomatoes (about fifteen), cut into quarters
1/2 bottle Italian salad dressing (oil based)
4 tbs McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning

Mix well, refrigerate and serve cold.

06-14-2008, 06:16 AM
Hmm, I don't really have any recipes, I just pick a pasta shape and some veggies or fruits, add oil and vinegar and some kind of spice, and I'm done.

But I did recently make a really simple tortellini salad that was pretty good. I don't have exact measurements for anything, though, including how much pasta I used. So here goes, with extreme lack of precision:

Raven's Tortellini Salad

1 package cheese tortellini (I think it was 1 lb)
1 can artichokes, standard size (whatever that is)
1 small-to-medium jar sun-dried tomatoes, julienne-sliced
"Pasta" or "Italian" spice blend
Canola oil to taste
Vinegar to taste (white or cider is probably best, but I used rice vinegar because it's all I had around)

Cook the tortellini. Cool with cool water and drain. Chop the artichokes (I chop artichokes the lazy way by draining the liquid and then using a knife on them inside the can before I dump them out). Add the artichokes and tomatoes to the tortellini. If it looks like the artichokes or tomatoes are about to overwhelm the salad, stop adding them. Sprinkle liberally with the spice blend. Pour oil on salad, add a shot or two of vinegar. Mix, cool if desired, and serve.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
06-17-2008, 05:02 AM
I picked up the inspiration for this one from a recipe in the food section of our Sunday 'Parade' magazine... it's especially good when tomatoes are fresh, homegrown, and/or picked up at a local Farmers' Market:

4 large, beefsteak type, ripe tomatoes, diced
half a bunch of green onions, chopped
4 large cloves fresh garlic, minced
two tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
several grindings fresh black peppercorns
2/3 Cup fruity, extra-virgin olive oil

Mix all this together in a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it set on the counter for 8-10 hours. (Yup. Out on the counter.)

When you're ready to eat, cook angel hair pasta or bucatini or perciatelli (large, thick, hollow noodles). Supposedly, there's enough sauce for six servings... Ol' Boy and I like it so much, we eat it as a meal instead of a side dish, so I'd say this is enough for 2-3. Great with some nice crusty French bread and a glass of wine.

You can use fresh basil instead of or in addition to the parsley. Might be good with fresh dill... fresh thyme...

All I know is it's wonderful, cool, and quick - if you don't count the 8-10 hour wait. :)

06-17-2008, 05:33 PM
I posted my recipe for Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta salad on my blog a while back. Just leave out the food coloring, unless you're making it for kids. It only goes in the cooking water, anyway.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad (http://juliefletcher.blogspot.com/2008/05/chicken-bacon-ranch-green-pasta-salad.html)