Call me old-fashioned but I just love a good old pasta salad. One that is loaded with fresh veggies and coated with a rich, tangy dressing. Oh, yeah.
That’s right, I’m bringing back the centerpiece of every 1980’s cookout. I’m making it my mission to revive the lowly pasta salad. Just ask BeeBop. We’ve had it three times in the last two weeks :-) And why not? It’s really delicious. And it can be pretty healthy as long as you don’t load it up with lots of cheese and too much dressing. This Summertime Pasta Salad has more vegetables than pasta and goes fairly easy on the dressing. It is a great accompaniment for pretty much anything you want to grill – chicken, fish, shrimp, steaks, burgers – so let’s get started!
First you’ll cook half a pound of rotini pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold running water. Let it sit and drain while you prepare the rest of the salad.
You’ll need a large mixing bowl to hold all of this salad. Add each of the ingredients to the bowl as you work. Amounts are just a guideline. Add more or less as you prefer. Admittedly, there is a lot of chopping involved in making this salad, but none of it is difficult.
So, first peel, chop and seed a large tomato. Next peel the cucumbers and cut them into small cubes. I prefer the Kirby pickling type cucumbers for this salad. They just taste like summer to me. Now remove the stems, ribs and seeds from the sweet peppers, chop them and add to the bowl. Cut the roasted red bell pepper into about ½” pieces and add it, too. Finely chop the celery and green onions adding them to the bowl with the other vegetables. Don’t use too much celery since it has a really strong taste and can overpower the entire salad if you aren’t careful. Last, stack up the basil leaves, roll them up like a little cigar and cut crosswise into ribbon-like shreds. Add to the bowl.
Add the cool, well drained pasta to the bowl. Pour over the dressing.
I used this Parmesan and garlic dressing, but you can use any Italian or Mediterranean-type dressing that your family likes. Normally I use the iconic “zesty Italian.” Always good!
Add the salt and pepper. Toss everything together until well mixed.
Suggestions: Other additions that are also good are olives (both black and green), thinly sliced red onion and blanched green beans cut into 1″ lengths. To make this into a main dish salad, add some grilled chicken or shrimp.
- 8 oz. rotini pasta
- 1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
- 2-3 medium pickling cucumbers
- 4-5 small sweet peppers (or 1 whole green bell pepper)
- 1 roasted red bell pepper
- 1-2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2-3 green onions, chopped
- 3-4 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade
- 2/3 cup Italian or other Mediterranean-type dressing
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- Cook the rotini according to the package directions. Drain and rinse well under cold running water. Let the rotini drain while preparing the remaining ingredients.
- Add ingredients to a large mixing bowl as you work. Peel, chop and seed a large tomato.
- Peel the cucumbers and cut into small cubes.
- Remove the stems and seeds from the sweet peppers, chop them and add to the bowl.
- Cut the roasted red bell pepper into about ½” pieces and add it, too.
- Finely chop the celery and green onions adding them to the bowl with the other vegetables.
- Stack the basil leaves, roll up and cut crosswise into ribbon-like shreds. Add to the bowl.
- Add the cool, drained pasta to the bowl.
- Pour over the dressing.
- Add the salt and pepper.
- Toss everything together until well mixed.
Other pasta salad recipes you might enjoy:
- Tomato Herb Pasta Salad from Amanda’s Cookin’
- My Baking Addiction’s Greek Orzo Salad
- Pesto Pasta Salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Three Many Cooks’ Greek Pasta Salad
- Easy Pasta Salad on Two Peas & Their Pod