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Tastes Like Summer: Pasta Salads

Tastes Like Summer: Pasta Salads

pasta salads | pasta salad | pasta salad recipes | recipes | summer | summer recipes | delicious summer recipes

There are a few dishes that contain the essence of a specific season, and pasta salads are one that belong wholly to summer. When it comes to summer fare, cold pasta salads can be both filling, flavorful, and not too heavy, which makes them perfect for the season. A good pasta salad has a good mix of protein, carbohydrate, and veg that is light but flavorful. Lucky for you, I’m getting my pasta salad game ready for the season and I’ve rounded up some of the best!

Pasta salads aren’t difficult or time consuming to make, which is part of their appeal. You should have a gorgeous bowl to serve them in, however. This beautiful wood enamel bowl is sure to brighten any block party or gathering and make your pasta salad look top shelf. If you want something a little more neutral, then this beautiful white ceramic bowl definitely checks all the boxes.

Tastes Like Summer: Pasta Salads

Recipe 01: BLT Pasta Salad

pasta salads | pasta salad | pasta salad recipes | recipes | summer | summer recipes | delicious summer recipes

If you’re looking for a good mix of veg, noodle, and protein, this is it! It’s light, refreshing, flavorful, and has great texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dry Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 c. cubed white cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. mayo
  • 1 lb. rotini pasta
  • 1 1/2 c. halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 3 c. chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 1 c. thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lb. cooked and crumbled bacon

Process:

Start by mixing the Ranch dressing mix, milk, and mayo in a small bowl with a whisk. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, put it into the fridge and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. This allows the mixture to cool and thicken.

While the sauce is doing its thing, cook the rotini pasta according to the directions on the package. You want the noodles to be al dente, not soft. After the noodles have reached the desired consistency, remove from heat and rinse with cold water.

Then, in your serving bowl, combine the pasta, tomatoes, onion, and pepper. Next, toss with all of the dressing but half a cup (which you will use later). If you’re not serving right away, keep the salad in the fridge. Otherwise, if you’re ready to serve, go ahead and add the bacon, cheese, lettuce, and parsley and toss very well. Lastly, drizzle the remaining dressing over the top and serve!

Recipe 02: Creamy Ham and Pea Pasta Salad

pasta salads | pasta salad | pasta salad recipes | recipes | summer | summer recipes | delicious summer recipes

This is a picnic must for any outdoor gathering. Cool ham, refreshing peas, it’s a win all around!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ditalini pasta
  • 1 c. ranch dressing
  • 1/2 c. mayo
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 2 c. cooked and diced ham
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1/2 c. fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

Process:

First, begin by cooking the ditalini pasta according to the directions on the package. You want the pasta to be al dente, not mushy. Second, when it has reached its desired texture, rinse in cold water and set aside so that it can cool.

Third, in your serving bowl, whisk the mayo, ranch dressing, salt, and pepper together until well combined. Then, toss in the green pepper, ham, and peas. Fourth, toss these ingredients well in the dressing before adding in the noodles and continuing to  mix well. Lastly, place the container in the fridge to get the whole mixture chilled completely before adding cheese and serving. Enjoy!

Recipe 03: Pesto Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

pasta salads | pasta salad | pasta salad recipes | recipes | summer | summer recipes | delicious summer recipes

Refreshing and full of flavor, this is an easy dish to make vegetarian or gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. rigatoni pasta
  • 8 oz. pesto sauce
  • 3 oz. chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c. sunflower seeds (if desired)

Process:

Begin by cooking your rigatoni according to the directions on the box. Once again, remember that you’re going for al dente, not soft noodles. When they are done cooking, make sure to rinse in cold water before moving on to the next step.

Next, in your serving bowl, combine all of the ingredients together and toss well. If you’d like to add in some cooked chicken, now is the time to do it! Then refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Recipe 04: Caprese Pasta Salad

pasta salads | pasta salad | pasta salad recipes | recipes | summer | summer recipes | delicious summer recipes

Caprese salads are a summer staple at our house. This one adds a nice twist with the addition of farfalle pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. farfalle pasta
  • 2 pints halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 8 oz. fresh cubed or balled Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves sliced thinly
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette: 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 c. olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, salt and pepper

Process:

Begin by cooking your pasta according to directions for al dente and finish by rinsing the cooked pasta in cold water. Then in your serving bowl, combine the sliced tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, pasta, and basil and toss until well mixed. Next, in a small mixing bowl, whisk the ingredients for the balsamic vinaigrette together. Then drizzle over the pasta and other ingredients. Lastly, toss everything until well coated and garnish with basil leaves. Serve cold and enjoy!

Recipe 05: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

pasta salads | pasta salad | pasta salad recipes | recipes | summer | summer recipes | delicious summer recipes

Another twist on a classic! This is filling enough that it could be served as a main dish.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast sliced thinly
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lb. farfalle (bow tie) pasta cooked al dente and rinsed in cold water
  • 2 c. chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 1/2 c. halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. chopped green onions
  • 1/3 c. chopped basil
  • 2 tsp. garlic pepper
  • 1/3 c. Caesar salad dressing
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. croutons

Process:

Start by cooking your chicken with a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Then cook each side for about 3-4 minutes, seasoning with garlic pepper before flipping. When the chicken is no longer pink on the inside, remove from the stove and slice on a cutting board into bite-size pieces. Next, squeeze juice from half of your lemon over the chicken and allow to cool completely.

To assemble your salad, combine the cooled pasta, romaine, tomatoes, onion, and basil in your serving dish. Next, drizzle the Caesar dressing over the top and toss to combine. Add the cooked chicken, pepper, croutons, and toss one last time. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve!



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