Cold pasta salad recipes can be completely vegetarian, and with a variety of other ingredients.
They can be used as a starter, a main dish because of the diverse ingredients, or a side dish, to complement your main course. It’s a “salad” after all.
Readymade pasta salads are easy to find at your supermarket. You may feel tempted for a short cut to your BBQ with friends or family or other. You may have a problem though. No guarantee of the freshness, a big factor. Also there is possible indiscriminate use of fats, sugar and sodium, not a healthy proposition. So read the label before buying. But even when you feel you cleared your fears, why not making a pasta salad you can be proud to serve because you know the ingredients used and it was created by you.
Here some very appealing properties and advantages of cold pasta salad recipes:
- Very easy and mostly quick to prepare.
- It is served cold, so you can even prepare it in advance.
- You can use veggies, beans, cheeses, meats, chicken, eggs and fish. You may think of more yourself. No limits to imagination.
- It can be the whole meal. The varieties of ingredients can cover about all the needed body nutrients.
- It is healthy. It loves vegetables that you may not get otherwise
- You can use colorful ingredients and pasta shapes for a stimulating visual appeal.
- It’s portable. Enjoy at a BBQ, on a beach, on a picnic, on a hiking trip.
Cold pasta salad recipes tips
Use small short pasta shapes: farfalle (bow ties), fusilli (corkscrews), pennette (small penne), small shells and orecchiette. Because in a salad everything is in bite sizes.
Ingredients in a cold pasta salad are generally double the uncooked pasta. So if you use 1 pound of pasta, you may need 2 pounds of ingredients. Recipes here are for a normal serving. Cold pasta salad recipes can be by themselves the whole meal for the variety and diversity of the ingredients. Besides pasta, there can be meats, fish, cheeses, eggs, vegetables and even fruit. So, for a whole meal, use more and for a side dish, use less.
Cut vegetables and other ingredient in bite-size pieces.
Use color if you can to please the eyes. For instance red of tomatoes, green of broccoli, black of olives white of cheeses.
Use herbs to add flavor. When in doubt, with basil or parsley you can hardly go wrong.
After draining pasta, run it quickly under cold running water so to cool it. Some recommend not doing so or you would lose some properties of the pasta. Here is the other way, you decide.
Remove pasta from heat 1 minute before al dente. Still hot it will keep cooking the extra minute. Drain pasta and spread it on a flat surface like a pizza tray or a baking sheet to cool. It may feel sticky, but later with the dressing it’ll loosen up.
You can prepare everything in advance, but add dressing and mix well so to blend flavors 10-30 minutes before serving.