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
- fresh herbs
- mini mozzarella cheese balls
- chickpeas or white beans
The options are seriously endless!! Use your favorites!
Other great pasta dishes:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tbsp salt and the pasta. Cook till al dente, about 8 minutes.
- Drain pasta and rinse under cold water to completely cool. Let the water drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- 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.
- 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.