This is a pretty standard ‘recipe’ of the last pasta salad I made. Depending on the vegetables that you are using, you may (or may not) wish to Blanch (par-cook) them. For a pasta salad recipe, I prefer to use an oil and vinegar based dressing as opposed to a mayonnaise base. Less risky for bacteria growth and a personal preference. Mayo has its place, (many of them for me) but just here I personally prefer its alternative. Pasta salads are also an excellent way to repurpose leftovers that you may have hanging out in the fridge. So when you see a ‘recipe’ for a pasta salad. Take it with a grain of salt. Figuratively and literally, use ingredients that are on hand, or in season. Play, experiment, have fun!!
Cooked Short Pasta, penne, rotini, elbow, rigatoni, etc.
Green Peppers, sliced julienne
Broccoli Florets, cut small and blanched
Almonds (optional, or sometimes I use pecans, just depends)
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Water Chestnuts (yes I checked they are an 'aquatic vegetable' optional)
Yellow Paddy Pan Squash, halved and blanched
Snow Peas, trimmed and blanched
3 Parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Part Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Part Dijon Mustard
Garlic Salt, to taste
Salt, to taste
Fresh Cracked Pepper, to taste
The Fun Parts
Make the vinaigrette seperately or assemble it all together with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
Mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Taste again. Adjust if necessary
Some people or restaurants even use pasta salad as a 'filler' type of food. Especially if they are serving it on a buffet. But I like a pasta salad that is proportionate. Meaning, all the ingredients being equal and not just a bowl of room temperature pasta with some veggies and stuff in it. Make the pasta salad a star!!