Pasta Salad Recipe – Are You Tired of Rice and Potatoes?

Every cook seeks to add some variety to the side dish menu. So often potatoes and rice are the traditional sides appearing on the dinner plate. Why not serve up some delicious tasty pasta salad? This recipe is very easy, and you can alter it to incorporate ingredients you have on hand.

This dish is best served warm, but don’t toss the leftovers. They are also good cold, or you can do a quick warm in the microwave. Don’t warm too long, though, because you don’t want to “cook” the mayonnaise. You can mix up different pastas, using some colored rotini for some flair.

I often mix together traditional “white” enriched pasta along with some whole grain or spinach varieties. My family will eat spinach and whole wheat pasta if it is not the only pasta in the dish, so just toss some of those along with the regular pasta, adjusting the ratios as desired.

This recipe is very flexible, allowing you to utilize leftovers and food you have on hand. Summer garden vegetables work great in this recipe. If you don’t have the exact ingredients listed, feel free to substitute items you do have, using your culinary creativity.

Eight ounces of pasta makes about 4-6 side dish servings. You can increase or decrease quantities as needed.

Ingredients:

* 8 ounces of pasta (mix different pastas together such as elbow macaroni, piccolini, and colorful rotini)
* Red and/or yellow bell pepper
* Green onions
* Celery
* Black Olives
* Bacon (4-5 slices per 8 ounces pasta)
* Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning
* Mayonnaise
* Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

1. Cook bacon and set aside to drain.
2. Dice all of the vegetables into small dice. Total of all vegetables is 1 cup per 8 ounces of pasta, no need to get too exact here.
3. Assemble the vegetables on a plate, sprinkle with Italian Seasoning (be generous), salt and pepper, and set aside. If you want to spice things up a little, add some crushed red pepper flakes.
4. This pasta dish is best served warm, so finish other dinner preparations.
5. About 15 minutes before dinner, cook pasta according to directions.
6. Drain pasta, DO NOT RINSE.
7. Add vegetables and crumbled bacon to pasta.
8. Add mayonnaise to pasta and stir, use about 1/2 cup per 8 ounces of pasta, or according to taste.
9. Stir gently with rubber spatula.
10. Add grated Parmesan Cheese to top and pepper again (fresh ground black pepper is best).
11. Serve immediately (again, best served WARM).

Be creative and add other ingredients you have on hand. You can add leftover meat, green olives, or small cheddar cheese squares. If you are a gardener, this is a great way to utilize your vegetable bounty. Hot peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, snow or English peas, and eggplant are delicious in this salad.

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