How to Make an Italian SaladSometimes, the craving for Italian flavors and spices strikes, but you're not quite hungry enough for a meal as hearty and filling as lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs. Italian fare doesn't have to involve oversize helpings of pasta oozing cheese. Knowing how to make an Italian salad is a flavorful way to indulge your yearnings without overwhelming your appetite--or sacrificing your waistline.
This mouth-watering Italian pasta salad combines fresh tomatoes, zucchini and ripe olives with a zesty yogurt-based dressing. You can serve it as an appetizer or as a side dish with almost any entree, or enjoy it as a meal on its own. It's fast and easy to prepare, and because you can make it ahead of time it's perfect for entertaining. Serve it when you entertain family or friends, or bring it along to wow the other guests at a potluck party.
-Hi, I'm Miranda with Recipe.com, and today, I'm gonna show you how to make an Italian Pasta Salad. So, we have our ingredients here. We're gonna use 1 package about 2 cups of elbow or another type of macaroni cooked according to instructions and it's been drained and just kind of cooling here because this is a cooled dish so you don't wanna use like hot noodles and kind of melt the yoghurt. Speaking of which, we have 2 cups of nonfat plain yoghurt. We have a third of a cup of grated parmesan cheese. We have 1-1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, 3/4 of teaspoon of garlic salt. We have 1 medium onion which has been finely chopped about 1/2 cup. We have 1/2 cup of sliced ripe olives, 2 medium tomatoes cut into 1/4-inch slices, and 1 medium zucchini also cut into 1/4-inch slices. So, what we're gonna do in this large bowl here is start by making our zesty Italian dressing. So, let's add our yoghurt in and, if essentially, you wanna get plain yoghurt, you want to make sure that you're not using like a vanilla yoghurt, obviously that would give it a super sweet taste that we're not interested in. We are-- we are being zesty today, so stay away from-- stay away from the sweet. Let's add in our parmesan cheese and then the Italian seasoning and-- and add in the garlic salt and mix, mix, mix and the last step for this is the onion, so mix this all together. Okay, look how gorgeous that looks. Now, I used a red onion because I like that when it's raw like I think of red onion kind of has like a little bit of like a sweeter, milder flavor. It's my favorite raw onion, but you can use whatever type of onion that you like. Now, let's add in the macaroni, so I'm just gonna kind of...scoop these all in and give it another toss and I haven't forgotten about our vegetables, that waits until the very end, so just keep on tossing...toss, toss, toss. Now, this is gonna be ready to eat right away, but if you don't, obviously, you just cover it and refrigerate it, and the great thing with a pasta salad like this or really anything that you're creating some sort of sauce or dressing with, the longer the flavors have to kind of marry each other and marinate, the stronger the flavor will become, and so this will be super delicious right away, but it might even be better tomorrow morning. So, if you have time to make it ahead, you certainly can. Right now, let's add in our vegetables, so this is nice. We certainly have, you know, pasta happening here and some cream, but we also have some good yummy veggies, particularly the zucchini. It's really nice, really nice addition, and in go our olives. I'm using kalamata here, but you could use whatever type you want. You could use black olives or green olives. You could do a mixture. You can just get wild and crazy with your-- with your Italian pasta salad here. Just look how pretty this is like all the nice colors, some super fresh veggies, and you are good to go. How easy was that? That's how you make Italian Pasta Salad. Thanks for watching, and for more great recipes and savings, visit us at Recipe.com.
What You'll Need
- 1 package elbow or other macaroni (about 2 cups; 7 ounces)
- 2 cups Yoplait® Fat Free plain yogurt (from 2-pound container)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices (1-1/2 cups)
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices (2 cups)
Step By Step
Cook, drain and rinse macaroni as directed on package.
In large bowl, mix yogurt, cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and onion. Stir in macaroni. Add remaining ingredients; toss. Cover and refrigerate any remaining salad.
As with any salad, you can easily customize this dish by swapping out ingredients or adding new ones. While this recipe calls for elbow macaroni, for instance, almost any pasta will do. Try bow-ties, penne, rotini, fusilli or other favorites as an easy way to vary the look and presentation of your salad. Whole-wheat pasta can turn it into an even healthier version. Want to add color? Try tri-color or spinach pasta. Or use a mix of red and yellow tomatoes and add bits of bell pepper in red, orange, green or yellow. You also can play around with different cheeses and seasoning; fresh basil or other herbs make a lovely garnish, if you happen to have them on hand.
In fact, once you've mastered how to make this fresh, easy Italian salad, you'll find yourself dreaming up new variations, increasing your versatility and confidence in the kitchen.