Guest Post by Mary Ellen Smith of Superior Woodcraft and Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations
Pasta Salad – it’s one of those dishes you see at every summer picnic or BBQ. But pasta salad doesn’t have to be boring or traditional. Over the years I have made pasta salad in many different ways as I love experimenting with different ingredients and flavors. I find it fun to make a dish that helps create a theme for my food. Once I have one menu item planned, the rest comes easily.
Below is a roundup of my favorite pasta salads. Click on the titles to see the recipes. Which one makes your mouth water?
This salad is everything I love about antipasto in one dish. Meats and cheeses, your favorite fresh vegetables, and an oregano-red wine vinaigrette – this one is my favorite!
Tomatoes and basil taste like summer to me, so this dish is the perfect bright and fresh pasta salad. I mix the pasta with tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella and toss it all with some good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. With the basil adding so much flavor you really don’t need more than that for a dressing.
Once the warm weather arrives I start planning all of my meals with grilled vegetables and I grill everything, even broccoli. For this pasta dish, I used grilled asparagus, peppers, red onions, tomatoes, and even garlic that I roasted on the grill. Summer squash and zucchini, and even grilled broccoli, would be welcome additions. Again, I keep the dressing simple so as not to overpower the flavor of the vegetables.
This salad is the perfect accompaniment to a Tex-Mex or Mexican inspired menu. Corn, beans, peppers (spicy or mild), tomatoes and cilantro tossed with a chili-lime dressing.
A sundried tomato oil coats your pasta giving it a wonderfully tangy flavor, while fresh tomatoes and basil add brightness.
I hope you find something new to try for your next summer gathering. Enjoy!
Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations
Eat – Drink – Be Family