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20 Minute Homemade Pasta Salad


When I was growing up in NJ, every family picnic had special side dishes made by family members. The most memorable was by far my Uncle Jim's pasta salad. Uncle J is a vegetarian, so this pasta salad was a dish he made often, as it was perfect to have on the side with a sandwich, for a quick lunch, or even dinner. It was always the favorite take along dish for family gatherings, and as I grew into adulthood, I found myself almost always making pasta salads for gatherings. It's so easy to make, even at the last minute, with whatever you happen to have on hand in the pantry and fridge.

Yesterday, I had a craving for pasta salad around 10:30 am, and knew it would be perfect to have for lunch. It takes so little time to make a good pasta salad, so I knew I could have one whipped up within minutes, and then have time to stick it in the fridge to cool.

Use what you have on hand to make a delicious pasta salad in less than 30 minutes.

When I make pasta salad, I use what I already have at home. I choose a pasta (and we always have a great variety in the pantry), veggies, and then staples ingredients. From there, I build my salad with the cooked pasta and sliced or diced fresh ingredients. Olive oil is always the base for the salad, and sometimes I flavor the pasta salad with an Italian dressing, Italian seasoning pack, or dried herbs from my cupboard.

Since I'm expecting, I'm super sensitive to onion and garlic, so I definitely avoided those this time. Normally, I would totally add them for added flavor!

To make a quick pasta salad like mine, you will need:

* 8 oz cooked pasta (I use rotini, sometimes tri-color, sometimes plain)
* 3 Tbsp Olive oil
* 4 Tbsp Italian dressing
* Sliced black olives
* Quartered mini cucumbers
* Diced Roma tomatoes
* 4 Slices of hard salami (diced)
* 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
* Black Pepper or Crushed red pepper to taste

Tip- prep ingredients while pasta is cooking. It should take about 10 minutes to cook your pasta to be al dente.

Drain the pasta and immediately rinse with cold water. 
Add pasta to a mixing bowl.
Pour in olive oil and Italian dressing, mix thoroughly to coat the pasta.

Add in all other ingredients, and gently toss together.
Lastly, add the cheese, and lightly toss the salad.

If you like a little crunch with your salad, add a few crushed Italian croutons to the salad.
Add any other veggies you'd like- the possibilities are endless!

Serve immediately or chill and serve any time!

The beauty of this pasta salad is that it tastes even better after it's had time to sit in the fridge for a day or two! You'll be able to enjoy it again and again!

Bon appetite!

1 comment

  1. I've had pasta salad so many times and could never get my own DIY-dressing right. I am SO going to try a premade zesty Italian dressing the next time I try to make pasta salad at home.


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