It seems like a good time for Cold Pasta Salad and this is one which you will surely make several times during the summer months.
Hot summer days and cold pasta salad go together like peas and carrots…really. And this recipe makes enough for a crowd so it would be perfect for a 4th of July get-together.
The ingredients in the salad are easy to prepare:
- Rotini pasta…the dressing clings to the curly shape
- diced English or hothouse cucumber
- red and yellow bell peppers
- grape tomatoes
- black olives
- feta cheese
Just chop up the veggies up into the size you like and you are nearly done making the salad. Cook the pasta to a bit past al dente, so it is soft. Run cold water over it to cool. Put everything but the feta cheese into a good sized bowl and fold together. Next comes the dressing….
The dressing consists of:
- can of diced tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, or more if you like
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, (2 or 3 leafy sprigs)
- tablespoon red wine vinegar, (taste it and add more if you like)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- red pepper flakes
Toss all of this into a food processor and run for 20 to 30 seconds so you make a smooth dressing. Give the dressing a taste and add extra salt, vinegar, pepper flakes, or even garlic if you feel it needs more. Then give the dressing a few more pulses in the food processor. This dressing is the essence of the flavor of the dish so it has to taste to your liking.
I used my handy little Kitchen Aid food processor , (#ad) to blend the dressing ingredients. This is a sweet, small processor you can see in the link.
I used Rotini pasta because it has lots of surface area to hold onto the tomatoey salad dressing. Cook it until thoroughly softened, then rinse it under cold water to cool. If you are interested, here is a great article on cooking pasta… Pasta: 8 Common Mistakes in Cooking …interesting tidbits to better pasta.
What to serve with cold pasta salad
The best way to serve this though, is with some grilled burgers or brats….outdoors with family or friends. Make the salad a day ahead if you like because it stores well in the fridge and is good leftover.
This cold pasta salad recipe makes enough for a crowd and is perfect for a summer potluck. Fresh ingredients make this a great, healthy side dish.
Cold Pasta Salad
- 1 can 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
- 3 large garlic cloves , coarse chopped
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup fresh basil tightly packed
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lbs Rotini pasta cooked according to package directions, a little past al dente
- 1 English cucumber , chopped
- 1 medium red pepper , chopped
- 1 medium yellow pepper , chopped
- 2 cups grape tomatoes , halved
- 3 green onions , chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley , chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup pitted black olives , halved
- 8 oz crumbled feta cheese
- Puree the ingredients of the dressing in a food processor or blender. 20 to 30 seconds. Cool in the refrigerator or make and cool overnight in the refrigerator.
- Cook the pasta until well softened, (just a minute past what you would call al dente). Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Chop the vegetables and place all the ingredients but the feta cheese in a large bowl, then toss to combine with the olive oil.
- Add the pasta and dressing and toss again. Salad may then be refrigerated overnight.
- Just before serving, add the crumbled feta and serve cold or at room temperature.
- An English or hothouse cucumber is best for this salad as it will not sweat liquid like a regular cucumber will do.
- Keep leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days.
- Recipe adapted from Cook's Country.
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More salad recipes to take a look at.