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This Classic Italian Pasta Salad is summer picnic comfort food at its best. Tri-color pasta, veggies, cheese and pepperoni fill this zesty Italian salad.
You know what my favorite part of a summer picnic is? The side dishes! Classic potato salad, creamy broccoli salad and sweet Snickers salad are ALWAYS a hit.
If there’s a picnic that I have to bring a side dish to? You can bet it I’m going to bring this pasta salad. It gets requested often. And it gets most requested by Braden. He loves it. Braden’s birthday is in January and although that’s the dead of the winter, he always requests pasta salad and pumpkin pie!
I love pasta salad because it is easy. No peeling potatoes or slicing too many veggies. We’ll talk below about how to prepare parts of this salad in advance to make this a quick and easy side dish recipe for all of your grilling nights.
The base of our pasta salad is tri-color pasta. Could you use regular pasta? Yes. But tri-color is so much prettier. And maybe, just maybe, it is a teeny bit healthier for you since it has a bit of spinach and tomatoes inside to give it that pretty color.
Cook the pasta until is al dente. I don’t like mushy pasta salad, and I’m doubting that you will either.
Here are a few hints:
We find it easiest to use store-bought zesty Italian dressing for our pasta salad. Sometimes we splurge and buy Olive Garden dressing….it’s so good!
If you’d like to try making your own, you can take the dressing from any of these recipes and add it to the salad:
Have you ever added seasoning to your pasta salad? Our pasta salad seasoning recipe makes pasta salad stand out! If you have your own favorite pasta salad recipe, you’ll use three tablespoons of this seasoning per one pound of pasta.
If you’re making pasta salad the day before, we recommend keeping the pasta, pepperoni and cheese in one bowl and the veggies in another bowl. Right before serving, mix it all together with the dressing. This will help your pasta salad stay fresh.
This pasta salad will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If the pasta salad has dried out, toss it with a few extra tablespoons of Italian dressing. This will freshen it right up!
No. Just don’t. This pasta salad doesn’t freeze well. Gobble it up while you’ve got it!
Pasta salad goes with just about any grilled dinner.
You may also love our Low Carb Italian Sub Salad!
My son-in-law adores any sort of pasta salad and, being Italian, he will love this one. It’s nice and simple and perfect for picnics. Thanks for sharing on Showcase Your Talent Thursday.