A great way to serve every pasta from Anellini to Ziti!
Our kids love pasta and can’t seem to get enough of it. These pasta salad recipes are favorites of theirs and are versatile enough to feed to children on a weekday evening, at a Sunday pot luck, or for a more formal dinner with friends.
The key to a good pasta salad recipe is not to overcook the pasta, to cool it quickly under running water, then add oil or butter to it right after cooking so it doesn’t start sticking together. Then mix in all the extras – chopped vegetables, herbs, chunks of cheese, lettuce, olives, you name it – and add a zesty dressing.
How to make pasta salad
There are some general rules you need to know about how to make pasta salad, such as choosing the right pasta for the other ingredients, choosing an appropriate dressing, buying fresh ingredients, and how to store the pasta between the time you cook it and the time you assemble and serve the salad. Nothing life threatening here but if you want your pasta salad recipes to turn out well, I suggest you check out How to make pasta salad for a few pointers.
Tortellini, cherry tomato and red pepper salad
I’ve been a big fan of tortellini since I first saw them popping out of a machine at our local pasta shop, when I was a nine-year-old living in a suburb of Rome, Italy back in the early 70’s. They are great hot served with a Napoletano or Bolognese sauce, but just as good served room temperature or chilled in tortellini pasta salad recipes. See my tortellini pasta salad recipe for a dish that is sure to please crowds, and is easy to make a huge load of when you’re having a big get-together with loads of kids and hungry adults.
Orzo salad recipes
I’m not a big fan of rice – although it tastes fine, it tends to fill me up and then leave me starving a few hours later. But pasta fills me up for the long term, and I can eat it several times a week! (It doesn’t hurt that I lived in Italy for two years as a kid, and met my wife there a decade later!) Pasta salad recipes made with orzo are great – orzo is shaped like an oversized rice grain, so you can substitute it for rice in most rice salad recipes – just cook as for pasta, not as for rice, and follow the rest of the rice salad recipe as is. Check out the first of my Orzo salad recipes – and watch for more in this space later!
Since kids will often eat pasta salad – serving these up for dinner is a sneaky parenting tip for getting more veggies into your child’s diet. You can also check out this Italian pasta salad – an easy pasta recipe that can be prepared in a few minutes.
Pasta salads are a great way to feed a large crowd on a limited budget. For more ways to save money on food, check out these Grocery Savings ideas.