5 Pasta Salad recipes perfect for the Spring
Whenever spring rolls around, we always seem to be headed to barbecues, potlucks, and patio parties. Why don’t you bring a cold pasta salad recipe? Not only does everyone love them, pasta salads are super easy to make and they’re even better when made ahead of time! In this article you can find 5 Pasta salad recipes to amaze everybody, without forgetting the particular dietary needs you or your friends may have!
1) A Low Calories Vegetarian Pasta Salad recipe
This low calories Pasta Salad is chocked full of fresh veggies with beautiful colors. Because of the huge amount of vegetables and the absence of fat dressing – trust us, you don’t need them! - it’s perfect if you are trying to get ready (read between the lines: to get fit) for the summer and it happens to be vegan, as well!
Ingredients (for 4/6 servings)
- 1 zucchini
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 small broccoli crown
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil for roasting the veggies
- Salt and pepper to taste (for the veggies)
- Farfalle pasta
Finely chop all the veggies and then season them with just salt, pepper and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Roast them up in the oven for about twenty minutes. This makes them soft and tender. (If you prefer, you can leave the tomatoes raw for an extra touch of freshness.)
While the vegetables are roasting, cook the pasta according to package instructions (salt the water), drain and set aside. When the pasta is room temperature, combine the pasta and the cooked vegetables, pour on one or two tablespoon of EVOO and toss to coat evenly. Garnish with parsley if you desire. Serve cool.
2) A Gluten Free Pasta Salad
Gluten free pasta is a great invention, but it doesn’t perform very well cold, which is a big problem for summertime salads. One suggestion is to take cooked pasta, strain, and then toss it under cold water for 2-3 minutes. It rinses the excess starch off the noodles and there is no more glob of stuck together pasta. Taste and add more dressing just before serving. Gluten free pasta absorbs more than regular pasta, which makes it dry, so plan on extra dressing.
Ingredients (4/6 servings):
- 1 box of gluten-free pasta. You can use your fav one or try the Nutracentis Pasta inside our Gluten Free Box.
- 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts ,drained and chopped.
- 1 cup black olives
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, diced
- 1 cup roasted red peppers diced
- Fresh chopped basil, optional
- EVOO to taste
For this Pasta Salad recipe, bring water to a rolling boil. Add salt and Pasta to the water and cook to box directions for al dente. After draining the pasta, rinse it with cold water. Add pasta to a large bowl and stir in artichokes hearts, black olives, grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers. Add a few spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some fresh chopped basil if desired.
3) Pasta salad with Pesto Cream Sauce
Pesto Cream Sauce is perfect for a Cold dish as well! You can use the one you had in your Cinque Terre Box or you can try to make it yourself simply using a food processor. The tomatoes and the mozzarella add a fresh touch and a vibrant color to your dish.
Ingredients (4/6 Ingredients):
- 1 lb farfalle (bow tie) pasta
- Pesto cream sauce
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered, with ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ lb green beans, cut into 2” pieces
- 1 cup of boccocini cut in half, or fresh mozzarella diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place your quartered cherry tomatoes in a strainer or sieve, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt, and toss lightly. Set aside to allow the moisture to drain from the tomatoes. Meanwhile, bring a pot of slightly salted water to a boil, cook the pasta al dente. Add the green beans in the last 2 minutes of Pasta cooking time.
Toss the hot pasta immediately with the pesto cream sauce. When the pasta is slightly cooled, add in the drained tomatoes and bocconcini. Serve at room temperature.
4) Tuna Pasta Salad
This light and easy Pasta Salad is loaded with Mediterranean flavors: pasta, protein-rich tuna, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives and capers.
Ingredients (4/6 servings):
- 6 oz of short pasta
- 1 (5-ounces) canned solid white tuna
- 0.25 cup diced onions
- 0.5 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 0.25 cup of olives, pitted
- 0.5 cup diced cucumber
- 1.5 tablespoons capers, drained
To make the Pasta Salad, cook the pasta according to package directions. When it cools, Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Add a few tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt if needed.
5) Italian Rice Salad
Rice for Italians is like Pasta, a really versatile ingredients that you can cook in infinite way and this is probably the most classic Italian recipe for potluck, pic-nic, day at the beach and so on: a delicious mix of vegetables, pickles, tuna, ham and cheese.
- 1 lb of rice arborio or parboiled
- 4 oz of ham cubed
- 5 oz of Swiss cheese cubed (emmenthal would be best)
- 3 oz of peas boiled and drained
- 3 oz of mixed Italian vegetable pickles "giardiniera!, chopped
- 3 oz of green olives pitted and quartered
- 5 oz of tuna
- 5 tbsp of corn
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- Mayonnaise, optional
Cook the rice in salty boiling water following the package instructions. We suggest you keep it al dente as there is nothing worse that a rice salad made with overcooked rice! Drain it well and rinse it under cold water to get rid of the starch. Keep aside to cool down completely.
Put the ham, cheese, peas, pickles, olives, tuna and corn in a big bowl and mix. When the rice is cold, add it to the bowl. Season with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Keep aside for 10 minutes and then serve. Lot of us serve with a generous amount of Mayonnaise over it, definitely not low cal but you can try if you’d like to!