Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Mom's Pasta Salad

I grew up with my mom making this pasta salad as one of her regular, go-to recipes.  It was sure to appear more frequently throughout the summer.  When I eat it today, I still think of her making a big bowl of it and sticking it in the fridge to be ready for a weekend cookout or family camping trip.

It's ridiculously easy.  Yet, whenever I take it somewhere, I know it will get compliments and people will ask for the recipe.  The secret is really the salad dressing.  You absolutely may NOT substitute any other kind of Italian dressing.  There just isn't another option for this salad. 

Ingredients:

12 oz. rainbow rotini pasta, cooked and drained
1 bottle of Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian Dressing (mandatory!!!)
approximately 6 cups of veggies and other ingredients cut into small pieces

Just throw it all together in a big bowl, give it a big stir, and you're ready to go!

Salad ingredient possibilities:
tomatoes
broccoli
cauliflower
carrots
celery
red onion
green onion
peppers
feta cheese
colby jack cheese
pepperoni
bacon
grilled chicken
mushrooms
artichoke hearts
chopped spinach

This salad is really great for cleaning out your fridge!  Every time I make it, the ingredients are a little different depending on what I have on hand.  If I know that I'm going to be making it, I'll always be sure to pick up grape tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, peppers, and red onion.  For me, those are the essentials.  But, you and your family may have different preferences, so make it your own. (Just don't switch the dressing!)

I also think it tastes better after it sits in the fridge overnight.  The noodles soak up some of the salad dressing and everything is more flavorful.  I always hope there will be some left for lunch the next day!

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