Five Steps to Perfect Pasta Salad Article - Allrecipes.com
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Five Steps to Perfect Pasta Salad

Follow the five steps outlined here for a stunning, irresistible pasta salad.

Step 1. Pasta

Step 2. Key ingredients

Step 3. Intense flavors

Step 4. Onions & herbs

Step 5. Dressing

I teach cooking classes across the country, and as often as a possible, I demonstrate pasta salad. Why? Because people make it all the time. (When's the last time you attended a potluck that didn't have a pasta salad?) But rarely do these sturdy, colorful, economical salads taste as good as they look. They can be dry, bland, oily, sharp or uninteresting.

If you're nervous about making your own salad, simply pretend you're at a salad bar. Be creative with ingredients you like to eat, but use a little common sense. When making an Asian-style salad, for example, use typical stir-fry ingredients such as celery and bell peppers.

Using this formula as a guide, you'll create beautiful pasta salads that will have people asking for your recipe. The proportions given make enough to serve as a side dish to 12 to 16 people.


Step 1:
Cook 1 pound of pasta. Select a 16-ounce box or bag of bite-size pasta. I recommend farfalle (bow ties), fusilli (corkscrews), penne, ziti, rotelle (wagon wheels), macaroni or small shells. Cook the pasta in a gallon of boiling water seasoned with 2 tablespoons of salt (that's right, 2 tablespoons!) until just tender. Drain but do not rinse the pasta. Instead, dump it onto a large-lipped cookie sheet to cool and dry. Don't worry if the pasta sticks together. The dressing will break it up.


Step 2:
Prepare 2 pounds of key ingredients. These are the salad's major add-ins: cooked and raw vegetables, poultry, seafood, canned beans and mild cheeses, for example. Some need little or no preparation before going into the salad. Others can be cooked in the pot of water along with the pasta. Still others are best sauteed or grilled. Choose at least 3 major flavorings. It's good to let one ingredient lead (for example, 1 pound of asparagus with 8 ounces each of sliced mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, for a total of 2 pounds).

Options for cooked vegetables

These can cook right along with the pasta in the pot of boiling water. Add them to the cooking pasta during the last minute of boiling. Drain and cool them with the pasta for that just-right, tender-crisp texture.

  • Broccoli or cauliflower, florets cut into bite-size pieces, stems peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick coins 
  • Asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size lengths 
  • Carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch coins 
  • Green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size lengths 
  • Snow peas or sugar snap peas, strings removed 
  • Zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick

Options for no-fuss vegetables

  • Canned artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and quartered 
  • Bean sprouts 
  • Celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick 
  • Mushrooms, thinly sliced 
  • Cucumbers, quartered lengthwise, cut into bite-size pieces and lightly salted 
  • Fennel, trimmed, halved, cored and thinly sliced 
  • Avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces (add at last minute to prevent darkening) 
  • Zucchini, halved lengthwise if small, quartered lengthwise if large, then thinly sliced 
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved and lightly salted 
  • Bell peppers, cored and cut into bite-size strips 
  • Tomatoes, seeded and cut into medium dice and lightly salted 
  • Frozen green peas, thawed

Options for grilled or broiled vegetables


All of these vegetables should be brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper before grilling or broiling.

  • Eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds; cut into bite-size pieces after grilling 
  • Fennel, trimmed, halved, core left intact, and cut into wedges; cut away tough core after grilling
  • Large whole mushrooms; slice or quarter after grilling
  • Bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered; cut into bite-size pieces after grilling 
  •  Zucchini, cut on the diagonal into slices 1/2-inch thick

Options for sauteed vegetables

Asian-style salads taste best with lightly sauteed vegetables, particularly celery and peppers.

  • Celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick 
  • Bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into bite-size strips

Options for other major add-ins 

  • Canned beans, drained and rinsed
  • Chicken breasts, grilled, sauteed or steamed and cut crosswise into thin bite-size strips 
  • Italian sausage, steam-sauteed and sliced thin on a slight bias 
  • Cooked lobster 
  • Cooked and peeled shrimp 
  • Canned tuna, drained 
  • Mild cheeses (e.g., mozzarella, cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack), cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
  • Crabmeat (pasteurized lump), picked over for shell 
  • Ham, sliced 1/4-inch thick and cut into bite-size strips


Step 3:
Choose intense flavors. Stronger- tasting than the major add-ins, these ingredients should be used more sparingly. Pick at least one representative from this category, but feel free to use two or three--roasted peppers, pine nuts and feta cheese, for example, will give the salad a Mediterranean feel. If making an Asian-style salad, stick to nuts and seeds.

Options
In most cases, add about 1/2 cup, unless otherwise noted.

  • Feta, crumbled
  • Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • Goat cheese, crumbled
  • Capers, drained (1/4 cup)
  • Olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • Peperoncini, drained and thinly sliced
  • Roasted peppers, cut into strips
  • Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into small dice
  • Bacon, fried and crumbled (8 ounces)
  • Prosciutto (8 ounces), thinly sliced, cut into small dice
  • Smoked salmon (8 ounces), thinly sliced, then cut into thin strips (other smoked fish and shellfish are possibilities as well)
  • Pine nuts, toasted
    Roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
  • Roasted or honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds (1/4 cup)
  • Sunflower seeds


Step 4:
Add onions and herbs. No matter what else is in your pasta salad, always add three large green onions, sliced, or half of a small red onion, diced. The types of onions are completely interchangeable, although I tend to use green onions for Asian-style salads.

Then mince 3 tablespoons fresh herbs and/or grate 2 teaspoons orange or lemon zest (the peel minus the bitter white pith).

For Asian-style pasta salads, consider cilantro, basil and/or the citrus zests. Dill and mint are usually compatible with creamy-style salads. Because rosemary and tarragon are such strong flavors, use just 1 tablespoon of either herb combined with 2 tablespoons of minced parsley.

And if you're ever in doubt about which herbs to use, you'll never go wrong with good ol' chopped fresh parsley.


Step 5:
Make a dressing. Whether you prepare one of the following dressings or choose another, you'll need 1 cup to coat the salad. The key is to make sure the dressing is thick and emulsified; otherwise, the pasta absorbs the vinegar while the oil clings in droplets to the pasta's surface. Stick with milder rice wine vinegar or lemon juice. Balsamic vinegar, while flavorful, turns the pasta an unattractive brown, and stronger vinegars make bright green vegetables drab.

Each of these recipes makes about 1 cup. You can prepare the ingredients in advance, but toss the salad and dressing only 15 minutes before serving.




Copyright 2004 USA Weekend and columnist Pam Anderson. All rights reserved.

Comments
Jun. 23, 2009 6:25 am
This is perfect instruction! My salad onight is sure going to beat my usual pasta plus italian dressing.
 
PET246 
Jun. 23, 2009 1:04 pm
I've been looking for ideas on how to make a another good pasta salad and this is a great tip.
 
GETTEJ 
Jun. 24, 2009 9:19 am
Where are the dressings the article talks about?
 
Sisco203 
Jun. 25, 2009 4:42 pm
GETTEJ, the recipes are at the top of the page. Creamy Vinaigrette and Creamy Buttermilk Dressing. These tips are very helpful to me, I'm always making pasta salads but it seems like something just isn't right. Thank you for this article.
 
Ellen 
Jul. 15, 2009 5:42 am
This was absolutely delicious. I used celery, artichoke hearts, green pepper, black beans, fresh basil, feta and green onions along with the Vinaigrette. I also used whole grain pasta. My family loved it and so did I. This will be my "go to" pasta salad.
 
Sharon Caylor 
Jul. 19, 2009 6:55 pm
I appreciate this-pasta salad is one thing I've never been able to make well. can't wait to try it!
 
Eileen 
Jul. 21, 2009 8:35 am
This sounds so good, and different too. I am going to do this as cover dish for my church!!
 
Katrina 
Jul. 29, 2009 12:41 pm
I'm new here and wondering if there any feature to allow us to save or clip articles like we can do with recipes?
 
Red Bird 
Jul. 30, 2009 10:35 am
I've found that if I let my pasta salad sit in the fridge over night it tastes even better the next day. I'll put half the dressing on the day before and the rest on right before I serve it. And, if I have to I'll let the avacado sit in a bit of lemon juice so it doesn't turn brown.
 
matzsj 
Aug. 15, 2009 12:36 pm
Just came from the local Farmer's Market. Lots of fresh veggies to color my pasta salad. Trying with gluten free pasta. Should be delicious.
 
Dodi 
Aug. 19, 2009 8:42 am
This was the first time I've made pasta salad and it was a big hit. I love the fact there are so many variations and it's all up to you. I used the Vinagrette dressing and it was delicious. I found I needed to doulbe the dressing. Thanks!
 
CRBROOKS 
Aug. 23, 2009 1:46 pm
I love to make pasta salad but pretty much end up making the same old thing every time. It was great to read through this, it gave me all kinds of ideas to try.
 
Jill 
Aug. 28, 2009 7:21 pm
Mick, the dressing recipes are at the top of the page, by "Pam's Formula." I love this article. I have used it a few times, in different combinations and the salad always comes out great. Excellent ratios, and the best part is that you can use up odds and ends of stuff around the kitchen! I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a place to start and likes to use their imagination when cooking.
 
merrybaker 
Sep. 18, 2009 10:04 am
I am going to try this and see if my pasta, after sitting in the refrigerator drys out. with my old recipe I have to add more dressing the next day. What is wrong? My old dressing recipe from my grandmother.
 
Jill G 
Sep. 28, 2009 6:10 pm
I was a little skeptical of the Asian idea, but had left-over chicken and veggie stir fry so I thought I'd give it a try. Added green onions, almonds, and cilantro, and used the vinaigrette with half dijon and half mayo. It came out great!
 
BarbaraChicagotoBostonandBack 
Sep. 30, 2009 6:13 pm
Where I haev always failed was in the dressing - and this article explains how to correct my errors. Creative and exciting -- thanks!
 
Lizzie D 
Oct. 2, 2009 10:08 am
I plan to make one of the salads this weekend for a family get together. I can hardly wait to get the reviews! Thanks for a very thorough step by step plan. Just wish I could print it out!in stead of hand writing it!
 
Lizzie D 
Oct. 2, 2009 10:13 am
I truly appreciate the step-by-step plans of putting together such a wide variety of salads. I plan to use one for a family get-together this weekend. Just wish I could print all of it instead of hand writing it.
 
mrtijeri 
Oct. 20, 2009 3:45 pm
merrybaker, I'm guessing you add the dressing while the pasta is still hot because that's what I used to do. It's better to let the pasta cool before adding the dressing. Same thing for potato salad recipes.
 
HickChick 
Oct. 20, 2009 11:19 pm
This is the best recipe for all your pasta salad. My friends and family all wanted to know where I found this recipe.
 
debora 
Oct. 30, 2009 12:35 pm
I made this using a combination of ingredients I thought would compliment a Mexican meal: corn, pinto beans, avocados, olives, squash, tomatoes and jack cheese. I put a tad of salsa in the dressing. It was the best pasta salad I've ever tasted. Many people asked for the recipe. For the vinaigrette, I sort of flipped the proportions of the olive oil and the rice wine vinegar and it was fabulous without being greasy. This is a good one.
 
rgw911rn 
Dec. 1, 2009 11:06 am
I have used these recipe guidelines several times, always producing an excellent salad. I use a different dressing than listed, but my salad is always fresh and crisp, colorful, and a hit!
 
Dec. 29, 2009 3:51 pm
Sounds great. How do I save the 5 steps?
 
Jan. 24, 2010 7:26 am
Luv this..... great tips!
 
Natalia Jimenez 
Jan. 30, 2010 5:55 pm
I made this today and absolutely loved it!! I used what I had in my pantry and made the vinagrette dressing, lovely flavor, will try it again and again using different ingredients listed. thank you.
 
eth 
Feb. 12, 2010 10:46 am
I read 1 comment that it is better to put the dressing when the pasta is cold. Some of the recipes I read indicated that it is better to put the dressing when the pasta or potato is still warm to absorb it better. Which is better?
 
Feb. 20, 2010 8:46 am
Salt gives the pasta full flavor and I believe it gives the pasta more body while it doesn't overload the salad with sodium! This is excellant. I used the vinagrette listed.
 
Barb 
Apr. 7, 2010 7:11 pm
I also wanted to save this article, so I copied and pasted in WORD.
 
MistyK 
Apr. 9, 2010 8:43 am
With pages like this I always just email the link to myself, then save the email in word. Haven't tried these tips yet but they sound great except for all the salt. I'm betting it'll all taste even better without any salt - we've found that everything does. The individual flavours, and sweetness of the veggies is amazing if you just eliminate the salt.
 
Apr. 20, 2010 10:42 pm
Love this article! Can't wait to make pasta salads more often.
 
Apr. 23, 2010 10:25 am
I found these tips from Pam Anderson some time ago in a magazine and saved them, and now follow them. The hefty amount of salt in the pasta cooking water, the drying of the cooked pasta on a rimmed pan and the proportion suggestions are very helpful. I love the fact that she provides this just as guide, not as a prescription, that can acommodate a host of food preferences. It's a keeper.
 
Bunny 
Apr. 29, 2010 3:22 pm
I want to triple this recipe, do i triple the salt or keep to the 2 TBS
 
Iris 
May 1, 2010 12:07 pm
I had no trouble printing this. I went to file, then chose print. When the printer screen comes up, either hit print (you will get all pages, including comments) or choose to print pages 1-3. You will get everything that is on the screen, but better than hand writing.
 
wannabecook51 
May 10, 2010 11:50 am
I am a novice at pasta salads, but this article helped me to put together a delish and nutritious salad. I used the small organic WW bowties, fresh asparagus, slightly steamed; petite pois peas; artichoke hearts,sliced; black olives, sliced; fresh tomato; baby yellow squash, sliced thinly; fresh port. mushrooms, sliced; small amt. of crumbled feta cheese; 2 boiled eggs, chopped; 2 cooked chicken breasts, diced; baby carrots,sliced thinly;and a half of a small red onion, diced in small pieces. I then used three rounded tbsps. of canola mayo, added black pepper and splenda to mayo and lightly tossed. I was certainly amazed at the results. Total light meal all in one. Serve over baby greens or your favorite mild lettuce. Great summer lunch!!
 
idugar 
May 10, 2010 4:59 pm
This is truly the best pasta salad non-recipe ever. I needed something quick but good and this was just thing. Now it's become my "thing" for all family functions and bbq's. Once you come up with something it's easy enough to make up the rest. You can't go wrong.
 
May 17, 2010 9:14 pm
One suggestion I was given about 25 years ago or so when I asked someone what the secret was to her delicious pasta salad and that has stuck with me over the years, is to boil the pasta with 1-2 tsp. of dry (powder style) chicken flavoring/base (as a substitute for salt). This gives the pasta itself a little more depth of flavor.
 
ddsjamie 
May 20, 2010 7:28 am
The best I have ever had in my life! The tips you offered helped and everything came out perfect. Healthy as well. I will use your dressing recipes with other salads as well. SO DANG GOOD!! THANK YOU
 
chad_and_karla 
May 23, 2010 1:28 pm
Thank you!!!
 
Cynthia 
May 30, 2010 3:48 am
For those want to print, just click "File" and the top of the page and select "Print." This will print everything, including the reviews. To print without the reviews and other info, just go to the top of the article, left click on your mouse and hold the button down while you drag the mouse down the entire article to highlight it. Once it is all highlighted, release the left button, go to the top of the page, click "edit" then click "copy. Now you can drop it into a MS Word or other word processing document and print it or save it.
 
haydensnanna 
Jun. 4, 2010 8:21 am
Sounds terrific. We have a potluck at church comming up, will use your suggestions. Thanks haydensnanna
 
ChateePatee 
Jun. 5, 2010 4:06 am
I recently made this salad for a meatless lenten dinner. Drying the pasta made a world of difference! I used a tricolored pasta and made my own dressing using rice vinegar and EVOO,a little white sugar and salad supreme dry spice mix. I did blanch my vegetables, and let them marinate overnight in the dressing which gave them lots of extra flavor. Fresh onion is a must and try sugar peas using the whole pod-folks loved them!
 
norahS 
Jun. 15, 2010 12:09 pm
What is the reason for drying the pasta?? Why not just run under cold water? A couple of people said it makes a difference and I am just wondering what that difference was? I will try it next time I make it...
 
Jul. 4, 2010 9:47 am
Why not rinse the pasta: rinsing the pasta remove the starchy stuff on the outside. The dressing clings better if you leave the starchy stuff on the pasta. Also true for other types of pasta dishes (ccoked). Yeah, I was always told to rinse with cold water to keep pasta from sticking together and/or stop the cooking process, but it is true that the dressing (or sauce) will unstick the pasta if it does stick together. So, not to worry about that.
 
lkirby23 
Jul. 5, 2010 6:59 am
Does anyone have the dressing recipes for the pasta salad? I had them printed out and lost them. Thanks!
 
t stark 
Jul. 8, 2010 3:50 pm
hi i,am going to try this i,ll let you no how the family like,s it t
 
Alice 
Jul. 10, 2010 11:11 am
I,m sure to make this salad .I could almost taste it as I was reading the recipe
 
Jul. 12, 2010 6:31 pm
I have always been searching for great recipes for pasta salad and with these proportions I can use almost anything I have in the fridge and never miss. Today I used pesto-filled tortellini, left over grilled veggies, tomatoes and thawed frozen peas for my basics, feta cheese, green olives and left over rotisserie chicken for punch, scallions and ranch dressing to finish. My son has eaten so much of it that I am afraid this huge bowl will be gone before the rest of the family gets home for dinner! Thanks!
 
tsatsawassanana 
Jul. 16, 2010 4:32 am
How do I add these instructions, and other info,other than recipes, to my recipe box.
 
Jul. 16, 2010 8:17 pm
Add a weblink: go to your recipe box. To the right of the heading My Recipe List is Add: with options to add different types of 'recipes'. One of those types is a weblink. Click weblink and a page will display to allow you to add a weblink. Then the link will display in you recipe box and be listed in about the same way. You will want to copy the weblink you want to add before going to the 'add' page, so you can then just paste the link into the space provided.
 
janet 
Jul. 21, 2010 11:28 am
Made this for a july 4th gathering and it was a hit-I used the creamy vinagrette dressing. the best idea was to cook the vegetable in the pasta water-directions said last minute-but I did the last three minutes and it was perfect. I am making it again this weekend.
 
BDAWSON1 
Jul. 24, 2010 1:36 pm
How can I save these tips? I want to always keep this.
 
carol 
Jul. 28, 2010 7:46 am
Great instructions! Along w/farfelle, I used shrimp, cherry tomatoes, black olives, fresh basil, red onion, feta cheese and almonds. Served it to a group of my friends and everyone asked for recipe.
 
Jul. 29, 2010 8:26 am
Thanks for such a great article. My pasta salads have always been average, but the tips we get here make it unforgetable. I made the vinegarette and, since there was so much salad and dressing, I shared it with my neighbor across the street and with her daughter. They loved it and I'm a hero!. Thanks for the suggestion of sending an email to myself. Isn't this site great!?!
 
buffinjm 
Jul. 29, 2010 8:36 am
When adding the intense flavors, do we add 1/2 cup of each or 1/2 cup total?
 
Millie 
Jul. 30, 2010 8:28 am
This is a great site for delish pasta recipes, am a novice in this but think I on the right track to a better pasta cook. Thanks everyone!
 
kamalinana 
Jul. 30, 2010 6:49 pm
thank you very useful
 
allyson 
Jul. 31, 2010 3:12 pm
why cant i add this to my recipe box?
 
Aug. 6, 2010 8:51 pm
i know it says to toss only 15 min before serving but for more oily dressings i like to wait longer so that the flavors really have a chance to absorb, ie. asian pasta salads made with sesame oil
 
Aug. 6, 2010 8:53 pm
they usually taste better the next day
 
allilyleliz 
Aug. 28, 2010 8:55 am
most important is the dressings ..this was left out?
 
Becky 
Sep. 1, 2010 6:37 am
Looks great--can't wait to try these tips!
 
jody123 
Sep. 4, 2010 1:48 pm
LOve, love,love all recipes, I consider myself a fairly good cook, but always have problems with pasta. This was great information. It covered everything, can't wait to make this!
 
lovetocook 
Sep. 4, 2010 6:26 pm
This was just what I needed to keep my pasta salad from being too dry or too gummy. I have made this dish two times for summer parties and they were a hit!! I used frsh Mozerlla cheese balls and roasted red peppers along with provolene cheese. Scallions and basil and black olives and it was a hit with just a cup of redwine vinigar and oik=l oil combined. I mixed it about an hour before it had to be served and it was so yummy!!
 
Mom in PA 
Sep. 7, 2010 7:39 am
I've used this formula for 3 different salads and each one was delicious. I've passed this "recipe" on to many friends who have enjoyed my salads...delicious
 
Shirley 
Sep. 15, 2010 2:01 pm
I have been trying to get a good pasta salad recipe...this has lots of great ideas!! Thanks so much
 
keways 
Sep. 19, 2010 5:49 pm
I found the dressing recipes and have posted them below. Creamy Vinaigrette 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or lemon juice 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard or mayonnaise 1 large garlic clove, minced Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2/3 cup olive oil Measure vinegar (or lemon juice) and mustard (or mayonnaise) into a 2-cup measuring cup. With a small whisk, stir in garlic, a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Measure oil in another cup. Slowly whisk oil into mixture, first in droplets, then in a slow, steady stream to make an emulsified vinaigrette. Per 2 Tbs.: 164 calories, 0g protein, 0g carbohydrates, 18g fat (2g saturated), 0g fiber, 90mg sodium. Go to top Creamy Buttermilk Dressing 1/3 cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup sour cream 1/3 cup buttermilk 3 Tbs. lemon juice or rice wine vinegar 1 large garlic clove, minced Salt and freshly ground black pepper Mix all ingredients until well-blended. Per 2 Tbs.: 91 calories, 0g protein, 1g carbohydrates, 9g fat (2g satur
 
dbray 
Sep. 25, 2010 9:28 am
This was great. How the proptions are done, the right dressing (vinegar) explains why some of my pasta salads have been a miss and others a hit. Sometimes it is good to review the basics. Even us much experienced cooks can get sometimes get lost in adding too little or too much.
 
Oct. 10, 2010 10:06 am
It is very helpfull and interesting, but HOW DO I SAVE THIS INFO. in My Recp.Box!!!!!!?
 
lucy f. bronio 
Oct. 27, 2010 12:17 am
I' fond of pasta and love salads! Thank you very much for your tips
 
Jan. 16, 2011 10:48 am
This is really a great article. I have used the proportions suggested here, and the buttermilk dressing, to make some awesome pasta salads. Thank you!
 
Sheila L. 
Feb. 28, 2011 10:50 am
Love this article. Really simplifies choices.
 
Mar. 24, 2011 8:01 pm
Great instructions - however, I have one little extra suggestion. As soon as I drain the pasta, I toss it with some sort of acidic liquid - depending on the dressing I'm using, it's either lemon juice or vinegar. The hot pasta really absorbs the extra flavours, and it adds extra kick to the finished product. No bland pasta salad in my house!
 
Sensiblemama 
Apr. 19, 2011 6:29 pm
Perfect recipe! I used the creamy vinaigrette and feta, Parmesan reggiano, chopped fresh spinach, chopped pepperoni, broccoli, cauliflower, whole wheat fusili, green onion, and Italian parsley. I love how the ideas inspired me by leaving it open to so many choices.
 
Raahila 
Apr. 24, 2011 4:21 am
Comprehensive list thanks
 
Jun. 23, 2011 6:41 am
This is very similar to my Pasta Salad that I made up. The only thing I also do is: along with the 2 tablespoons of salt added to the boiling water, I also add a 1/3 cup vinegar, and a 1/3 cup sugar. It gives the actual pasta that "boost" of flavor it might still need. Hmmm... Ok, I think I will add my recipe to this site! :-)
 
JHMCG 
Jul. 11, 2011 4:24 pm
I have made this several times, differently every time! No more boring pasta salad! Thanks so much! (Sometimes I use the Goddess dressing from Trader Joe's instead of my own...yum!)
 
annapaulhuckeba 
Aug. 22, 2011 6:35 am
How many days ahead can I cook the pasta? How to store? Then I will have the veggies in a bag to add and then the dressing on the day of use.
 
aseitas 
Oct. 23, 2011 11:56 am
I'm impressed with how simple and fun this is. I am that one potlucker that hates pasta salad. It's always too sweet for me and all I can ever taste is dressing. But my husband loves pasta salad so after following these directions we "sampled" a few bites and now half of it is gone. Lol great!
 
Aunt Nancy 
Nov. 26, 2011 3:43 pm
I've been making pasta salad for 50 years. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Now I know why.(I usually don't measure anything but the pasta.)This the best and most all inclusive recipe ever. I'm looking forward to trying the variations. I would suggest substituting sea salt. It doesn't tase as salty,
 
sarahmayj 
Jan. 18, 2012 8:34 am
When I discovered this site, I was impressed that they have recipes for all types of cuisine. It was awesome; I don't need to buy any cooking magazine or recipe books for my cooking anymore. You should try also visiting www.gourmandia.com. All recipes there are really interesting and easy to be done. It doesn’t need elaborate cooking. It gives me time to bond together with my family and friends. It’s tasty, contemptible, nutritious and oh so worth cooking!
 
Kenny517 
Feb. 4, 2012 9:46 am
To save the instructions just copy and paste to a word processor. Works comes free with most windows but if you don't have one search online for openoffice and download it. Then copy and paste and edit to your heart's content.
 
LynnD758 
Feb. 4, 2012 7:29 pm
I have been making pasta salads for years...at home for family and to bring to dinners and functions.The info in this article absolutely enlightened me to new and different ideas. Thank You so much for sharing your expertise with me/us!!
 
Sabrina 
Mar. 15, 2012 6:44 am
I am hosting a friend's bridal shower and hope to use these tips for her party..thank you so much. I hope my pasta salad turns out well:)
 
familyalford 
Mar. 24, 2012 1:31 pm
I just made this and love the recipe. Just looked at the author at the END of cooking - of course it's Pam Anderson! I love every recipe you ever publish. Cooking made tasty and simple. Thanks!
 
Mar. 27, 2012 5:46 pm
I'm not finding the recipes for the dressings either.
 
Mar. 27, 2012 6:02 pm
Found 'em!
 
Apr. 12, 2012 10:27 am
A handy little tip if you goof & accidentally overcooked your pasta (made night before a party and had too many things going on at once-forgot to use the timer! OOPS!) Drain, rinse, drain again. Spread pasta out on large plate or pan & let DRY longer than would be necessary to just cool, couple hours. Put in very LARGE lidded container. Lightly olive oil the pasta & toss, not too much oil, you want it to continue drying. Place in fridge overnight (you CAN leave lid off in fridge just to be sure it dries, but CAREFULLY as the uncovered pasta can soak up the smells/flavors of other dishes already in the fridge). By first thing in the morning (early) it should have firmed up to nearly 'al dente' texture. Then add your dressing and back into the fridge. Should stay firm because it's being served cold anyway. Otherwise since pasta IS cheap, you can dump it out and start over from scratch. I didn't have that luxury as it was the last box in my cabinet.
 
Keri 
May 5, 2012 9:52 am
Thank you for the tip about cooling and DRYING the pasta before mixing in the rest of the ingredients! My pasta salad always ends up mushy, because I never cooled and dried the pasta before adding the dressing. I just rinsed the pasta under cold water and went on with my recipe. I can't wait to make some pasta salad and try this tip!
 
candygrama 
May 18, 2012 5:19 pm
I wish these articles could be saved in the recipe box. Thanks for the good info.
 
kerrik 
May 19, 2012 2:02 pm
Very helpful. I agree with candygrama. I was looking for a way to save to my recipe box.
 
May 25, 2012 4:15 pm
sorry but every one says to rinse the pasta to stop it from cooking, if you just drain and put it in the pan it will continue to cook and be over cooked.
 
Mary 
May 27, 2012 2:45 pm
I am hoping this will cure my bad pasta salads!
 
Deeblangdon 
Jun. 7, 2012 3:50 pm
This sounds excellent. I can't wait to try it.
 
Jun. 21, 2012 8:54 am
Awesome Tips
 
Jul. 4, 2012 3:16 pm
Omit salt wherever mentioned; you'll never miss it. Slightly undercook the pasta and let dry as directed.
 
rhondag812 
Jul. 24, 2012 1:03 pm
If you know how to cut and paste using your computer mouse you can copy to a word program and then print out the recipe without having to copy it by hand. Great ideas to make great pasta salad with imagination. Thanks.
 
Aug. 10, 2012 5:11 pm
What a great article! Easy enough to change up whatever you want or have on hand. I once made a psta salad with diced ham, cheddar and frozen peas and carrots - using up odds and ends for a potluck dinner. Dressed it with a Ranch-style buttermilk dressing. People scraped the last of it out of the bowl, asking for the recipe. I don't remember what all I put in it - just opened the fridge and started using stuff up. Sometimes you just get lucky!
 
Aug. 14, 2012 8:00 am
I have used this system several times and I end up making the best pasta salads! Everyone loves them. Thank you for this step by step instruction which makes creativity easy. I will use this method forever.
 
Georgina 
May 20, 2013 5:23 pm
As a fan of all things Tuscan I will have to try this pasta salad recipe. I'm always searching for delicious recipes for pasta salad, I recently made this version http://cookingwithtricia.ca/recipes/map-mondays-2/pasta-salad/ and it came out DELICIOUS! I will be trying yours sometime this week and coming back with notes :) Thank you for the share, Georgina
 
I'mabakernotacook 
Jun. 7, 2013 5:59 am
When was the last time I attended a pot-luck that didn't have a pasta salad? How about MORE than one because that's usually how many there are! One type of pasta that was omitted from this article is rotini, my pasta of choice. It says to drain, but not rinse, the pasta. I thought you were supposed to run cold water over it to stop the cooking process. However, this article gives some interesting ideas of what to mix in with the pasta. I like the idea of adding poultry and/or seafood. (If using fresh shrimp, cut off the tails before adding to the salad, or, you can used canned shrimp). (I would also add sliced black olives because I LOVE black olives!) . As for the dressing, I don't know if I would attempt to make my own; there are so many good commercial dressings in the supermarket.
 
Rose Norris 
Jul. 8, 2013 6:43 pm
My husband and I are light eaters. For just the two of us, these recipes make too much although we don't mind eating a tasty dish two days in a row. What's an easy way to cut them in half? Can I measure 8 oz. of pasta by putting it in a measuring cup>
 
Jun. 14, 2014 12:41 am
I've been cooking for 61 years and trust me, even spending my life in food servic (Dietician), I still learn HUGE amounts of information from articles, & reviews with added ideas! Thanks SO much for this forum. Although, I too would LOVE to find a way to print them! Also, thanks Debora (sp?) for the Mexican pasta salad ideas! I'll give it a try next week!
 
 
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