[Updated for 2012] Summer’s finally here and that means plenty of BBQs, picnics and potlucks to enjoy. If you’re looking for dish ideas to bring along, pasta salad is a crowd pleaser and sure to be a hit. Here’s a collection of recipes that I’ve handpicked from around the net, plenty of new ideas that I can’t wait to try and hopefully you’ll find a few favorites for yourself!
First, here’s an easy recipe that my family really enjoyed…
Ranch & Ham:
3 cups tricolor spiral pasta (cooked, drained and cooled)
1 cup chopped fresh broccoli florets
3/4 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup seeded chopped tomato
1 bottle of ranch dressing (8 oz)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
cubed ham (about a cup or as much/little as you like)
Directions: Combine pasta, ham and veggies, toss with the dressing then top with Parmesan. Adapted from Taste of Home.
Ready to check out the rest? Here you go…
- Tomato Zucchini: Made with zucchini, chopped scallions, chopped Roma tomatoes, dried parsley. Vinaigrette is made with extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, chopped shallot, chopped garlic, salt and fresh ground black pepper. From The Cooking Photographer.
- Pesto: Made with fresh basil and parsley, chopped garlic cloves, lemon juice, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, Greek yogurt, cherry or grape tomatoes (halved) and grated Parmesan. From MyRecipes.
- Ranch Turkey: Made with macaroni, cubed turkey breast (cooked), cubed Cheddar, peas, shredded carrot, Ranch dressing and bacon bits for garnish. From Disney’s Family.com.
- Zesty (with corn): Made with whole kernel corn, cherry tomatoes, sliced zucchini, pitted ripe olives (sliced), Italian dressing, vinegar, dried oregano and garlic powder. From Life Made Delicious.
- Easy Peasy: All you need is a bottle of Catalina dressing, diced celery, cubes of Cheddar cheese and either macaroni, penne, bowtie or other pasta. From Kansas A.
- Pesto: Made with fusilli, cooked broccoli and cauliflower florets (chilled), trimmed snow peas, sliced carrot, fresh white mushrooms. Tossed with basil pesto, olive oil, grated Parmesan, white vinegar and salt. From Company’s Coming.
- Classic: Serves 8 to 10, ingredients include whole-wheat elbow macaroni, coarsely grated carrots, diced celery, sliced scallion, mayo, white vinegar, sugar, hotdog relish, yellow mustard and finely chopped parsley. From Disney’s Family.com.
- Sombrero (slightly spicy): Made with spiral pasta, ground beef, water, taco seasoning, shredded cheddar, green pepper, onion, tomato, sliced ripe olives and Catalina or Western dressing. From Taste of Home.
- Creamy (with corn): Made with ditalini, finely chopped carrot, green beans, raw kernels from 2 ears of corn, fennel bulb (trimmed, cored & cut into 1/2″ chunks), fennel fronds (chopped), red pepper, flat-leaf parsley leaves, light ranch dressing, sugar salt and freshly ground black pepper. From Delish.
- With Lemon Garlic Dressing: Made with whole wheat Orecchiette, grape or cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, Feta, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, finely grated lemon zest and dry mustard. From Court & Hudson.
- Ranch Ham: Made with cubed potatoes, nugget pasta, broccoli florets, diced fully cooked ham, roasted red bell peppers (jar), green onions, mayo, ranch dressing. From Betty Crocker.
- Spring Picnic Style: Serves 6 to 8, made with whole wheat pasta, blanched green beans, halved cherry tomatoes, minced red onion, canned artichokes (chopped), canned cannellini beans, crumbled Feta, olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes (optional). From Macheesmo.
- Creamed Avocado & Lime: Made with a ripe avocado, roughly chopped cilantro, lime juice, mayo, garlic paste and chopped cilantro and/or jalapeno for garnish. From Noriko Burky.
- With Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette: Serves 6 to 8, made with fusilli, pitted Kalamata olives (sliced), sun-dried tomatoes in oil (sliced thin), Feta, basil leaves (julienned). Vinaigrette: sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained), red wine vinegar, good olive oil, minced garlic, drained capers, salt and fresh ground pepper. From Sprinkles of Parsley.
- Creamy Latin: Made with rotini, evaporated milk, extra-virgin olive oil, crumbled feta, fresh cilantro, juiced lime, finely diced ham, chopped red and orange bell peppers, frozen peas, thinly sliced red onion, peeled and chopped jicama and pimento stuffed olives. From Food Network.
- Classic: Made with mayo, vinegar, creamy Dijon mustard, sugar thinly sliced celery, chopped green or red bell pepper, chopped onion and elbow macaroni. From Hellmann’s.
- BLT: Serves 8, ingredients include fusilli, light mayo, lowfat buttermilk or milk, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, fine sea salt, crispy bacon, diced tomatoes, diced red onion and sliced romaine or other crispy lettuce. From Whole Foods Market.
- BLT: Made with light mayo, grape tomatoes (small diced), green onions (white and green parts), fresh thyme, cooked bacon, chopped spinach. From Full Fork Ahead.
- Bistro Chicken: Full of Mediterranean flavors, ingredients include cooked penne, quartered cherry tomatoes, crumbled Feta, Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix, fresh basil cut into strips, chopped red onions, sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed), boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1/4″ thick slices). Refrigerates for several hours until chilled. From Kraft Foods.
- Caesar Style: Made with fusilli (or other curly pasta), chopped garlic, chopped anchovies, fresh lemon juice, mayonnaise, olive oil, halved cherry tomatoes, grated Parmesan, chopped green leaf lettuce and fresh basil (optional). From MyRecipes.
- Summer Tortellini: Made with olive or grapeseed oil, a large bunch of fresh basil, canned artichoke hearts, sliced black olives, fresh mozzarella, cherry or grape tomatoes and a cup of Italian dressing. From House of Fifty.
- Supreme: Yields 12 (1 cup) servings, made with penne, rotini or fusilli, assorted vegetables such as broccoli florets, sliced carrots, bell pepper strips, cherry tomato halves and red onion slices, a bottle of Italian or Ranch dressing and a package of McCormick’s seasoning. From McCormick.
- Jamie Oliver’s Best: Serves 4 and made with small shell-shaped pasta, garlic cloves, yellow cherry tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes, black olives (pitted), fresh chives, fresh basil, cucumber, white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. From Jamie Oliver.
- Broccoli & Grapes: Made with chopped pecans (toasted), farfalle (bow-tie), fresh broccoli, mayo, sugar, diced red onion, red wine vinegar, seedless red grapes (halved) and crumbled bacon (cooked). From MyRecipes.
- Southwest Chicken Ranch: Made with Ranch & Bacon salad mix, mayonnaise, coarsely chopped chicken breast strips (cooked), canned corn, halved cherry tomatoes, Pepper Jack cheese (cut into 1/2″ cubes) and chopped fresh cilantro leaves. From Pillsbury.
- Tortellini with Chicken: Made with tricolor cheese tortellini, cubed cooked chicken breast, pitted ripe olives, chopped tomatoes, cubed part-skim mozzarella cheese, fresh parsley, balsamic vinaigrette and shredded Parmesan. From Taste of Home.
- Grandma Sis’s: Made with elbow macaroni, vegetable oil, mayo, cider vinegar, a small green bell pepper, red onion, chopped celery and a jar of cocktail olives with pimiento (drained and chopped). From Boston.com.