Thank you to everyone who joined me yesterday at my little cactus-themed party. Today I’m continuing the fun with my recipe for the pasta salad featured in that post. It’s aptly called Really Good Pasta Salad.
You may remember that a few years ago I shared a recipe for Really Good Macaroni Salad (which, by the way, has become one of the most popular recipes here on IBC.) The reason I described that salad and this one as “really good” versus something like “the best” or “the ultimate” is because I haven’t tried all of the pasta salads in the world. Plus, even if I did, what I think is best might be different from you think is best. Make sense?
This recipe is from my mom. While she often comes to me for new recipes, I always go to her for classic recipes from my past. We make a good team like that! I’ve loved this pasta salad for years, so I’m happy I finally have a chance to make it for you.
As you can see, this pasta salad recipe has a lot of delicious little goodies mixed in – cheese, olives, broccoli, pepperoni, salami, and so on. I think the variety of ingredients creates a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. However, if you hate olives (or another non-essential ingredient), feel free to leave them out.
Also, when you’re chopping all of the ingredients, I recommend keeping the pieces pretty small. This is my trick for creating any really good pasta-type salad. The goal is to get as many of those tasty flavors into a serving as you can. If you only have eight pieces of broccoli in the salad because you cut them so big, it’s likely that not every serving will have broccoli.
All right, let’s whip up a batch!
Here's what you will need:
1 pound cellentani pasta, prepared al dente and cooled
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup green olives, sliced
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
1/2 cup banana peppers, chopped
1 cup mini pepperoni (or pepperoni cubed)
1/2 cup salami, cubed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, add the cooled pasta, red onion, broccoli, green olives, cheese, banana peppers, pepperoni, salami, cherry tomatoes, and green pepper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, sugar, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. (About 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.)
Add the dressing to the bowl of pasta. Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Toss again before serving.
I could make a meal out of this stuff. That’s how much I like it!
Oh, and for those who were asking, you can find that fun light-up marquee-style cactus here and the wooden cactus cutlery here. The adorable mini clay cacti were a DIY. You can learn how to make those here. The white ceramic cactus was a HomeGoods find.
Join me back here on Friday for the Prickly Pear Margarita recipe and more details on the party supplies.