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Best Ever Pasta Salad

Now that the season of picnics, cookouts and all manner of summer get-togethers is officially here, I’m reviewing my recipe arsenal carefully to consider what I’ll be making in hopes of earning rave reviews at every gathering. Nobody wants to be that person who brings a dish to the party and realizes at the end that it’s hardly been touched! A key staple for summer get-togethers is pasta salad. Ever wonder why? It’s easy, endlessly adaptable, and efficient for using up leftovers. Also, it’s a good traveler for picnics and can be served at room temperature. So don’t fret about what to bring to your next summer picnic—think pasta salad! And you can’t go wrong with our Pasta Salad with Grilled Veggies and Fresh Mozzarella One of our website visitors, Coll, said: “Made this a bunch of times now. It's an easy recipe and has been a hit with whomever I've shared it. We agree that it’s a crowd pleaser, and here’s why:
  • Hold the mayo: My informal poll results indicate that 6 out of 7 people prefer a vinaigrette-based salad to a mayo base. This is a highly controversial area, but folks have strong feelings on this and, in my experience, mayo is more polarizing than vinaigrette. Our recipe uses balsamic vinaigrette —a bottled one for convenience but feel free to make it from scratch if you like.
  • Summer rainbow: Our pasta salad is colorful, and a beautiful presentation makes a dish all the more enticing. Bell peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, spinach, red onion and basil offer up a rainbow in a bowl. Who can resist that?
  • Herbalicious flavor: For color (see above) and of course fresh, fragrant flavor, don’t be shy with the herbs. Herbs, especially basil, flourish in summer heat so grow your own and be generous when adding them to summer salads.
  • Cheese, please: Fresh mozzarella is one of our summer favorites. It’s creamy and rich, and it’s a great match for grilled veggies and pasta. Cheese not your thing? Just skip it and you’ll still have a gorgeous salad.
We want to know: what’s your best ever recipe for pasta salad? Share your recipes and suggestions for what makes a great pasta salad in the comments below. Let’s see who has the best idea! Happy summer cooking!