Well I for one cannot believe that Memorial Weekend is upon us. This year has been absolutely weird. Does it feel like May? Well, no. Does it feel like June is right around the corner? Again, no. But, alas the reality is that we are closing in on summer. I am very excited for the coming summer months, regardless of how this summer will be. The sun will be shining. The unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day, requires summertime food. This Italian Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish for your Memorial Day feast.
This recipe makes a lot, enough to feed a crowd. The ingredients should be easy to obtain, even during these times. I used a premade Italian dressing, Drew's Organics brand, which has all good, real ingredients. For the pasta, you need something that will drink in all of that delicious marinade. I used rotini, which made for a delicious visual appeal.
What's in this deliciously Easy Italian Pasta Salad?
- Pasta: Of course, there is pasta. Best noodles of choice for this recipe include: rotini, penne, elbow macaroni, and farfalle. I am sure there are others too, but those are the four that come to mind. As far as gluten-free pasta, I have been told that Banza pasta works well.
- Cheese: I find cubed cheese very satisfactory in pasta salad. You can use shredded Parmesan too, but the cubed cheese works so well with the other ingredients in this dish. As far as types of cheese, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, and Colby all work well. The most economical thing is to buy a fairly large block and cut it in cubes yourself.
- Salami: The salami is cut into bite size pieces. When you cut it, use your fingers to separate the pieces before adding to the pasta.
- Olives: I love canned black olives with Italian dishes. They bring me back to childhood. The canned black olives work really great in this salad.
- Vegetables: Cherry or grape tomatoes are part of this recipe, in addition to diced bell pepper. For the bell pepper, use whatever color you'd like.
- Dressing: The "easy" part of this recipe is the dressing. The dressing for this recipe is simply remade Italian dressing. Choose a brand with good ingredients like this one.
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During this times, we want to limit the trips to the grocery store. Use what you've got on hand. This recipe is incredibly adaptable. If you don't like olives, take them out. This Easy Italian Pasta Salad is an open palette, just make sure it's colorful. No matter which way you decide to go with the ingredients, I know you will enjoy it!
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 lb rotini pasta
- 1 cup salmi diced
- 1 cup cheddar cheese cubed
- 1 each green bell pepper diced
- 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 2.25 oz can sliced vine ripe olives drained
- 1 ¼ cups Italian Dressing
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. (See box for cooking times.) Drain. Rinse with cold water, and drain again.
- In a large bowl, combine cooled pasta, salami, cheese, bell pepper, tomatoes, and olives. Toss to combine until well incorporated. Pour dressing over the mixture, and toss until everything is well coated.
- Allow salad to sit in refrigerator over night before serving.
- Cheese: Crumbled Feta, Cubed Monterey Jack, Mini Mozzarella balls
- Olives: Kalamata, or omit
- Salami: Pepperoni