Whenever we start heading into Spring and Summer I start craving lighter fare - all kinds of crispy green salads and light pasta salads. My hubby and son especially love pasta salads too.
Last week when it was so beautiful I made a yummy veggie pasta salad as a side dish with our meal. I think the pasta was the biggest hit, though, and only hung around as leftovers for one day as it was gobbled all up. I have a basic "recipe" for how I do pasta salad and then I just change up the ingredients depending what I have on hand or what sounds good that day.
To begin I chop up some veggies. That day I threw in some carrots and some broccoli as it's what I had in the fridge. But you could definitely throw in other crunchy vegetables that sound good to you.
I also threw in some frozen peas. An easy tip for adding peas (you don't even need to thaw them) is to throw them in the water with the pasta right after it's done boiling. That 30 seconds the peas are in that just done boiling water is enough to thaw them. Then drain and rinse them all together in cold water. I almost always use the tri-color "veggie" rotini pasta for my pasta salads (the green noodles are a spinach pasta and the red tomato). I just like that it's a good firm pasta to hold up to the other crunchy veggies and I like the pretty colors. How lovely for Spring!
I then make the basic dressing my Grandma always made which is to use real mayonnaise (I use light version for lighter calories), and for every cup of mayo you need you add 2 Tbsp of sugar and 2 tsp of white vinegar and mix all together and then toss the pasta in it. For a smaller pasta salad I probably only need about a cup of dressing. For a full box of pasta and larger salad I may use closer to 2 cups. To this pasta salad I also cubed some cheddar cheese and threw that in too. Then chill the salad in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
We often even like pasta salad as our meal in the summer and I'll use grilled chicken I chop up with the veggies in the pasta. What's fun is you can play with different flavors and ingredients to make it how you want. I've made another yummy version using some chopped turkey, veggies and craisins (dried sweet cranberry) to have almost thanksgiving flavors. It's a great basic salad that allows you to be creative.