Colorful Summer Pasta Salad
Easy, healthy, and colorful! This recipe is great for large groups at parties or picnics, and can easily be adjusted to accommodate smaller crowds. It's a refreshing twist on regular pasta salads and is lighter than most that contain a creamy base.
A friend from California shared this recipe with over 10 years ago, and with all of the times I have made it I still have only modified it slightly. You can substitute any of the pastas or veggies to your liking.
- 1 box, your choice of pasta (I do 50% farfalle, 25% veggie penne, 25% veggie rotini)
- veggies (base veggies are cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion)
- Girard's Champagne dressing, 1 - 1 & 1/2 bottles
Making your Pasta Salad
You can pick any type of veggies, but I have a few personal choices. For the cucumber, I use the "Cutecumbers", the little cucumbers found at Costco and other stores. Typically their skins aren't bitter like the regular cucumbers can be, so it eliminates peeling the skins. For the tomatoes, I like to get a colorful mix, so I got a big package of Mucci Blended Flavors tomatoes, a variety of all flavors and colors.
The base veggies are usually safe for most crowds, but I sometimes will separate the onion as well, and put it in its own container with dressing for people to self serve. You can also add: olives, artichoke hearts, or any other veggie of your choice, just remember, the more veggies you add the more dressing you will need to add!
- Cook all pasta according to the box instructions, I add some salt and a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking or clumping. Aim for 'al dente' because the pasta will absorb the dressing as it sits, so you don't want to overcook the pasta and end up with a soggy mess. Rinse pasta with cold water after draining, and allow ample time to drain before adding to your mixing bowl.
- Cut all veggies into bite-size slices. Cut the red onion into thin slices to balance the flavor.
- Combine all ingredients into a large serving dish. Make sure you shake the Champagne dressing well before adding, as it naturally separates in the jar.
- Serve immediately, or cover in your fridge prior to serving. I like to let it sit for a few hours in the fridge because it allows the pasta and veggies to soak up more flavor.
Plating your Pasta Salad
If you put your salad in the fridge, you are going to want to let it sit out for a little bit to allow it to get close to room temp so that the Champagne dressing mixes back together better. Also, observe the moisture remaining in the dish, if it seems a little dry, add more dressing. I 100% of the time add about 1/2 a bottle of dressing to the salad prior to serving because all of the veggies and pasta soak it up.
And, that's it!
Do you have any tips or experiences you'd like to share about making this dish? Please comment below!