Monday, July 6, 2009

Basic Pasta Salad

I love pasta salad. I find it a good way to legitemately ingest carbs in the form of pasta, which is one of my favorite foods of all time. I decided to give this a whirl because I had most of the ingredients on hand, and needed a quick-prep side dish to bring to a Fourth of July BBQ. It's super simple if you like a basic, tasty pasta salad for a potluck. It won't offend many picky palates, and is so quick to pull together with ingredients you probably have.

However, I think that in general, pasta salad could become a very versatile side dish; switch up the dressing with pesto, use a different noodle shape, incorporate different veggies, meats, and cheeses. You could easily turn an italian pasta salad into a greek pasta salad by using greek dressing, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta & black olives, garnishing with pita bread!

1 bag of wacky mac pasta
1/2 cucumber, peeled & diced
1/4 red pepper, diced
1/4 green pepper, diced
1/2 green onion, small diced
1/3 carrot, shaved into coins with a veggie peeler
4-5 slices of Salami (I used Oscar Mayer Deli Shaved Beef Salami), sliced into 1/2 inch strips
8-10 small pepperoni slices (I used Oscar Mayer Pepperoni), quartered
2-4 ounces of fresh mozzarella, diced
Couple handfulls of parmesan cheese
1/2 - 1 cup italian dressing (I used Kraft Zesty Italian). I found I ended up using about a cup to get everything nicely covered.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain & let cool.
Add veggies, meats, cheeses and dressing to the cooled pasta. Toss to combine.
Chill in the refrigerator until needed - this is a great item to make the night before you need it!
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