Tips To Make Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing Simple

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Pasta salad is a summertime staple, perfect for picnics, potlucks, or a light and vibrant main course. This variation boasts a classic Italian dressing that complements the pasta, vegetables, and cheese beautifully. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s easy to prepare and endlessly customizable. So grab your favorite bowtie pasta, fire up the kettle, and get ready to whip up this refreshing dish!

Ingredients:

Easy Italian Pasta Salad
Easy Italian Pasta Salad

1 pound (454 grams) dried short-cut pasta (such as bowtie, penne, or rotini)

  • 1 cup (225 grams) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup (150 grams) pitted black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh red onion (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley

  • Italian Dressing:

    1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) black pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
    2. Prepare the vegetables: While the pasta cooks, halve the cherry tomatoes. Dice the red bell pepper and cucumber. Halve the black olives, and crumble the feta cheese. If using, chop the red onion and parsley.
    3. Make the Italian dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
    4. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber, black olives, and feta cheese. Pour the Italian dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly. If using, sprinkle with chopped red onion and parsley just before serving.

    Tips:

    Chill the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

  • For a vegetarian option, omit the feta cheese.
  • Add other chopped vegetables like broccoli florets, chopped carrots, or chopped zucchini to customize the salad.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

  • Nutrition Facts (per serving)

    Calories: 450

  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 25mg
  • Sodium: 400mg
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Protein: 15g

  • Please note: This is an approximate nutritional value based on the ingredients listed. The actual nutritional content may vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients you use.

    Conclusion

    This Italian dressing pasta salad is a perfect summertime side dish or even a light main course. It’s packed with flavor, color, and nutrients, making it a crowd-pleaser for any occasion. With endless customization options, you can tailor it to your preferences and dietary needs. So next time you’re looking for a refreshing and delicious dish, give this recipe a try!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can I use a different type of pasta?

    Absolutely! Any short-cut pasta shape will work well in this recipe. Some popular options include penne, rotini, farfalle (bowtie), or fusilli.

    2. Can I make this salad ahead of time?

    Yes, you can! The pasta salad can be assembled and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, it’s best to wait to add the dressing until just before serving to prevent the pasta from becoming soggy.

    3. How can I make this a vegan option?

    To make this a vegan option, simply omit the feta cheese. You can also add a vegan protein source like chickpeas or chopped tofu.

    4. What can I substitute for the red wine vinegar?