pastasalad Archives » Kay's Clean Eats

Easy Pasta Salad

This Easy Pasta Salad is full of fresh crisp veggies and tossed in Italian dressing. This is the perfect side dish to bring to your next picnic or bbq! It is also great to keep in the fridge or lunches and dinners.

More than ever I think this Easy Pasta Salad is a must-have for summer lunches and dinners. Cold pasta salads are easy to have on hand and make meals effortless. Personally I love mixing mine with chopped romaine for a literal pasta salad, ha!

Tips for making this Easy pasta salad

  • Use any pasta you like, penne, fusilli, or rotini. The kids love tri-color rotini noodles, so that is what I use. 
  • Cook pasta till al dente, nobody likes mushy noodles. 
  • Rinse pasta under cold water to cool and drain completely. 
  • To make pasta salad combine all ingredients in a bowl.  I used tomatoes, broccoli, cucumber, black olives, and red onion. 
  • Dress the salad with your favorite store-bought Italian dressing. Its summertime, after all, don’t worry about cheating with store-bought dressing. I used Trader Joes Italian Dressing with Romano Cheese. 
  • If your Italian dressing is dairy-free you can add in some parmesan or feta to your liking.
  • Serve this salad cold. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

What to put in Pasta Salad

I added all my favorite fresh veggies to this recipe, however, feel free to add what you like. Some ingredients that work well in this salad are:

  • bell peppers
  • artichokes
  • chicken
  • ham
  • fresh herbs
  • mini mozzarella cheese balls
  • salami
  • chickpeas or white beans

The options are seriously endless!! Use your favorites!

Other great pasta dishes:

Yield: 10 servings

Easy Pasta Salad

Easy Pasta Salad

This Easy Pasta Salad is full of fresh crisp veggies and tossed in Italian dressing. This is the perfect side dish to bring to your next picnic or bbq! It is also great to keep in the fridge or lunches and dinners.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces tri-colored rotini 
  • 12 ounces heirloom grape tomatoes, halved (cherry tomatoes  work great too)
  • 1 1/4 cup diced cucumbers 
  • 1 1/2 cup bite size broccoli florets 
  • 1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian Dressing, I used Trader Joes Italian with Romano Cheese
  • grated parmesan cheese for serving 

Instructions

  1. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook till al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Rinse under cold water, and drain again.
  2. In a large bowl combine, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, red onion, and sliced black olives. Stir in the cold pasta salad and pour in the dressing. Store covered in the refrigerator till serving.

 

Easy Macaroni Salad

An Easy Macaroni Salad is a must-have for grilling season. Serve it at a neighborly cookout or family bbq, kids and adults love it. 

This is such a great macaroni salad. There is no overpowering flavor from the onion or celery and it all just blends perfectly. I had my nephew over today and this is one of his favorite pasta salads. I paired it with some chicken tenders, watermelon, and steamed broccoli. Kids gobbled it up, I was only left with broccoli, haha. 

I have fond memories of warm summer dinners with my cousins and playing all day with them, those were some of the best days! It’s amazing to me how food has such a lasting memory on us. My mom would always make the best summer family bbq’s. This Macaroni Salad is the greatest side dish for your summer bbq.

You can jazz this macaroni salad up by adding in some of your favorite veggies, hard-boiled eggs, diced ham, and even cheese if you fancy. But, this salad is great as is, my kids love it!

Tips for making Macaroni Salad

  • Salt your pasta water. 
  • Don’t overcook or undercook your noodles. 
  • Pasta must be fully cooled before you add mayo, it will stay more creamy that way.

Love easy and delicious side dishes also try, Marinated Tomatoes,Perfect Mashed PotatoesGreek Orzo Pasta Salad.

Yield: 10 servings

Easy Macaroni Salad

Easy Macaroni Salad

An Easy Macaroni Salad is a must-have for grilling season. Serve it at a neighborly cookout or family bbq, kids and adults love it. 

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni pasta
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red onion, minced 
  • 2 celery stalks, minced 
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • parsly for garnish 

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tbsp salt and the pasta. Cook till al dente, about 8 minutes.
  2. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water to completely cool. Let the water drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add onion, celery, mustard, lemon juice, and garlic powder to the bowl. Combine at let sit for 1 minute to allow the flavors to absorb.
  4. Add mayo, stir and combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit in the fridge for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Easy Greek Pasta Salad

Easy Greek Pasta Salad is the perfect easy side and the ultimate potluck hit that everyone will enjoy!! With a beautiful blend of crisp juicy veggies and feta tossed in greek dressing make for the perfect pasta salad.

There is something so wonderful about greek salad seems like I always have the ingredients on hand. With an extra box of pasta chilling in the pantry I thought hey why not try a greek pasta salad! The combination of juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, feta and olives tossed in Greek dressing makes for a crazy good meal.

Of course, I recommended making the dressing but if you find yourself short on time toss in a store bought dressing. The salad will hold up in the fridge for up to 5 days. It is perfect for packed lunches, BBQ’s and potlucks.

To make it is so simple!

  1. Cook your pasta according to package and rinse with cold water to stop cooking
  2. Wash and chop your veggies while the pasta is cooking.
  3. Combine everything in a large bowl and toss in the dressing. Chill and serve!

Yield: 8

Easy Greek Pasta Salad

Easy Greek Pasta Salad

An easy side dish, perfect to bring to a potluck or BBQ. A dish everyone will love!

Prep Time 9 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb short pasta
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 2 zucchini's spirulized (4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cup cucumber diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 oz sliced black olives, drain juice from can
  • 1 cup feta crumbles

Dressing

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinager
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cold water.
  2. While pasta is cooking prepare your dressing then wash and chop your veggies.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss in dressing. Chill in fridge and enjoy!