How to Make Pasta Salad

Learn how to make pasta salad and you will have an easy side to bring to potlucks or make for any event. You can add many ingredients to create your own signature salad!

Tue, 14 Feb 2012|

-Hey everybody, Chef Lovely here, and when you have to go to a potluck, there's different things that you can bring, but today, I'm gonna show you something that's easy, fast, and delicious. So, let's get straight to it. Here is our potluck pasta salad. Let's get to those ingredients. Three cups dried wagon wheel macaroni, rotini, or other desired pasta (8 ounces). Today, we will use rotini. Two cups yellow summer squash or zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced. About one medium summer squash is what we're gonna use today. One cup frozen peas, thawed; shelled fresh peas, cooked and cooled; or frozen whole kernel corn, thawed. Today, we'll use frozen peas. One medium red sweet pepper, cut into strips, about a half a cup. 8 ounces of smoked cheddar cheese or a cheddar cheese, cubed, 2 cups. One 6-ounce can pitted ripe olives, drained and coarsely chopped. One cup cherry tomatoes, halved. One-half cup chopped red onions, that's about 1 medium onion. Two tablespoons snipped fresh oregano or basil or two teaspoons dried oregano or basil, crushed. Today, we will use dried oregano. One cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette or red wine vinaigrette salad dressing. Today, we're gonna use balsamic. Okay, I know that sounds like a lot of ingredients, but don't get nervous, don't get scared. It's all in the mise en place, which means everything in its place. So, what you can do, you can cut your cheese, you can cut your tomatoes, have everything ready to go. And, of course, you wanna cook your pasta which is what I did here. So, here is my rotini pasta that is cooked in salted boiling water then we drained it and I put it right here in my bowl. If you let your pasta stay a little warm, it's gonna absorb all these flavors that we're putting in. So, let it slightly cool. Okay? So, we're gonna take all these ingredients, drop it right in the bowl, and we will have pasta salad in no time. So, let's get started. Let's put in our olives here. We're gonna go in with our peas, sweet bright-green color, which I absolutely love; red onion, a little bit sweeter than the white onion and I love the purple color. Add tomatoes, beautiful punch of red in the salad. Also, the sweet red bell pepper. Delicious. We're also gonna add in that squash. Gorgeous. And we need something a little bit salty, so we're gonna go in with our cheese as well. So, let's give this a quick stir. So, go from the bottom right on that, so we're gonna bring that pasta right on top of all of our other ingredients here. If you get a few pieces that are over the edge, it's okay. We're in the kitchen. We're supposed to get a little dirty, a little messy. Okay? So, don't worry about it. Fantastic. I just want to get it started. Now, we're gonna go in with that dried oregano. Delicious. And then, to make it all nice and creamy kind of bring it all together, we're gonna add that great balsamic which is a nice deep rich flavor that I absolutely love. Okay. So, a few more tosses here in our bowl and we're gonna be eating in no time. Something else that I absolutely love about this salad, it's the perfect-- perfect thing to bring. It sits and it's all done by itself once everything is mixed together in the bowl. You can have chicken with this. You can have fish with this. You can have beef. It's a great, great dish to bring to any potluck, any party that you're gonna have with all your friends and family. Okay, great. Now, that we have everything mixed and it looks beautiful and delicious, we're gonna give this a nice covering of some plastic wrap. We're gonna chill it in our refrigerator for about 2 to 24 hours. We want all those flavors to really get deep inside the pasta and bring all those wonderful-- wonderful flavors together. So, it's fresh, it's crisp from all of the vegetables, and it has that beautiful kind of twang from our balsamic vinaigrette. So, I want you to try this dish and I want you to enjoy this fantastic recipe and try this potluck pasta salad.