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Perfecting Pasta Salad

Pasta salad can be simple and good, but the real fun starts with the addition of fresh herbs, seasonings, grilled or roasted veggies and experimenting with noodles.

BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta SaladDuring summer I rely on grain, legume and leafy green salads that involve very little cooking.  One of my favorite standbys is pasta salad. I am particularly fond of BLT Pasta Salad made with fusilli. I love to take it along to picnics, pool parties or barbecues. 

Grilled Swordfish Pasta Salad with Olive Salsa

Pasta salad can be simple and good, but the real fun starts with the addition of fresh herbs, seasonings, grilled or roasted veggies and experimenting with noodles. Most varieties of whole grain and gluten-free pasta made from spelt, whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa and corn are interchangeable in recipes although pasta cooking times may vary. Experiment with fresh noodles too. They cook very quickly and make wonderful pasta salad. (Find them in our Specialty Department and keep it in your fridge or freezer until ready to cook.)Here are some more ideas and recipes to get you started.

  • Add protein such as chopped chicken, turkey, tuna, boiled egg or shrimp to a pasta salad. Our Waldorf Chicken and Pasta Salad is made with apples and celery. This Lemony Confetti Macaroni Salad has tons of veggies and a sauce made with Greek yogurt and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

  • When grilling or roasting veggies, make extra and add to a pasta salad. My favorites include red onions, corn, summer squash, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. You’ll love this Roasted Corn and Tomato Pasta Salad.

  • Fresh herbs are really good in pasta salad. How about some slivered basil along with sundried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and pimento-stuffed olives? Or try feta cheese and kalamata olives with fresh oregano leaves. Our Dilled Shrimp Pasta Salad with fresh dill, baby spinach and edamame is a winner too. Smoked Salmon and Vegetable Pasta Salad is made with chives, basil and parsley.

  • Our Grilled Swordfish Pasta Salad is made with whole wheat pasta shells and is a summer must-try recipe.

  • Cubed cheese or a favorite goat cheese adds a lot of flavor. This Pasta Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables and Fresh Mozzarella is fabulous and made with fresh (not dried) fusilli pasta.

  • Pearl couscous is also a pasta and we love it with tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella in this cold Caprese Couscous.

  • This really Cool Pasta Salad is made with whole wheat penne, but it’s equally wonderful made with gluten-free brown rice penne.

  • Add a dash of curry powder or a pinch of cayenne pepper. 

  • Vegan options can include eggless (vegan) mayonnaise, vinaigrette dressings, tofu, tempeh and cubed vegan cheese. Our vegan Arame Mushroom Pasta Salad is wonderful with shiitake mushrooms and extra-virgin olive oil. 

Pasta salads are served cold but they are always hot commodities at the table. Do you have an applause-worthy pasta salad? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below. 

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