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party veggie pasta salad

by Jackie Newgent  |  April 30, 2013  |  1 Comment

party veggie pasta salad

(Click on photo for full-size image!)

Makes 18 side-dish servings: 3/4 cup each

Picnic and cookout season is here. So I thought I’d share with you a recipe that’s sure to be popular at casual outdoor parties. It’s simply traditional pasta salad … but a bit more special than your everyday recipe. It’s full of colorful veggies, lots of textures, and loads of flavor. By the way, leftovers taste great … if you have any!

Calories Saved: 50

16 ounces dry whole grain rotini or other pasta shape
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh bite-size broccoli florets or chopped asparagus*
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese**
1 (6 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 large orange bell pepper, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 small or 1/2 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), thinly sliced, rehydrated (if need)
1/3 cup hot banana pepper rings or thinly sliced pepperoncini, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano, or to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, about 9 minutes. (Alternatively, “lid cook” pasta! Here’s how: Stir the pasta into the boiling water; cover; remove from heat; and let cook covered without heat for 9 minutes. That’s it!) Drain the pasta (do not rinse) and, while hot, toss with 1/4 cup of the oil, the broccoli, and garlic in a large bowl. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Then chill in the refrigerator.
  2. Add the vinegar to the cool pasta and toss to coat. Add the cheese and toss to coat. Add the artichoke hearts, bell pepper, grape tomatoes, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, hot pepper, basil, oregano, salt, and black pepper and toss to combine. If not serving immediately, chill covered in the refrigerator. (Hint: It’s okay to chill overnight.)
  3. When ready to serve, toss with the remaining 1/4 cup oil, adjust seasoning, and serve at room temperature.

Per serving: 180 calories, 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 4g sugars, 6g protein

*If using asparagus, add the asparagus tips to the pasta about 2 minutes before the pasta is finished cooking.

**Cheese can be served on the side, if desired.

(Disclosure: I am a paid spokesperson for Barilla America, Inc. However, this recipe was not developed on their behalf; I was not paid to develop it for my blog.)


The “Before” Recipe

italian bow-tie pasta salad

Adapted from Taste of Home recipe

Makes 18 servings

1 (16-ounce) package bow-tie pasta
2 cups grape tomatoes
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup pickled banana pepper rings
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe black olives, drained
4 thin slices hard salami, diced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.
  2. Combine the pasta, tomatoes, cheese, bell pepper, onion, pepper rings, olives, salami, and fresh basil in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, black pepper, and dried basil in a small bowl.
  4. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and serve.

Per serving: 230 calories, 14g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 310mg sodium 21g total carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 6g protein

Tasteover Tips

  • Simply add more veggies that you love, like broccoli or asparagus; you’ll get a bigger serving size!
  • Mild cheese can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of richer-tasting ingredients. Try using a stronger or sharper cheese so it’s as distinct as all of the other ingredients. You may be able to use less if you wish, too.
  • If you’re making a recipe vegetarian, keep the umami up to boost savoriness. Sun-dried tomatoes can give depth of flavor in lieu of meat, like salami. Plus, using sun-dried along with fresh tomatoes creates an interesting layering of tomato flavors.
  • Skip the dried herbs on fresh preparations. Use fresh on fresh.

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