As the sun-drenched days of summer roll around, there’s nothing quite as satisfying and refreshing as a hearty pasta salad. Bursting with vibrant flavors and an assortment of colorful ingredients, pasta salad is a versatile dish that can be served as a main course, a side dish, or even brought along to picnics and potlucks. In this blog post, we’ll share a delightful pasta salad recipe that’s not only simple to make but also a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
For the Salad:
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) of your favorite pasta (penne, rotini, or bowtie work well)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cucumber, diced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the Pasta:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Place the drained pasta in a large mixing bowl.
Prepare the Vegetables:
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes, dice the cucumber, chop the bell peppers, finely chop the red onion, slice the black olives, and tear the basil leaves.
Make the Dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.
- Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
Assemble the Salad:
- Add the prepared vegetables to the bowl with the pasta.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables.
Add the Finishing Touches:
- Gently toss the pasta, vegetables, and dressing together until everything is well coated.
- Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over the top of the salad.
- Garnish with the torn basil leaves.
Chill and Serve:
- Place the pasta salad in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- This allows the flavors to meld together and the salad to become even more delicious.