Oh pasta salad, love I love thee. There are literally endless variations on this summer BBQ staple, so it’s a good “let’s see what’s in my fridge today” meal and it’s very easy to do a lot of if, if you’re entertaining or bringing it to a pot luck.
I always start with pasta, logically. I use whole wheat macaroni, penne, orzo, spirals or other small pasta (even tortellini work) and cook it accordingly to the box (actually, if it’s not an Italian brand, subtract 2 minutes, North America doesn’t seem to like their pasta al dente!), add it a bowl, then add other ingredients.
- non vegetarian: cubs of cheddar and ham, edamame (shelled), finely diced peppers, carrots and chives
- slightly exotic: peas, chunks of pineapple, and green onion – mix some curry powder into the dressing. A can of tuna is a good addition here.
- Greek style: feta, diced black olives, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, diced red onion and chopped oregano
- heart healthy: chickpeas, avocado, broccoli and sunflower seeds
- Mexican style: corn, black beans, avocado, chopped cilantro
- pesto chicken: pesto, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes and diced cooked chicken
- citrus: lemon zest (and juice in the dressing), cucumbers, feta and fresh basil
Most of these are so flavorful, all I add is olive oil and some type of vinegar but check out some dressings to go with it here.