This is a cold pasta salad, which means it’s perfect for summer. I also love that it can be made up to a day in advance, so if you are planning a summer get together you can check this off the list a day ahead.
And let’s not forget the main reason this is perfect for summer — all those colorful garden veggies (and some that are technically fruit). It’s such a great way to use up the abundance of veggies in season from either your garden, the farmers market or the grocery store.
Even though it uses a bottle of dressing, I’d still consider this one of the best pasta salads. Maybe it’s because it’s one of those sides that was always there in the summer growing up but it will always be one of my favorites.
HOW LONG WILL PASTA SALAD KEEP IN THE REFRIGERATOR?
Generally speaking, pasta salad will stay fresh for 3 days in the fridge. This particular recipe contains highly perishable ingredients such as avocado and lettuce, which means it’s best served the same day that it’s made.
This pasta salad is especially delicious in the summer when tomatoes are ripe and in season. However, I’ve been known to serve it year round, because it’s a classic flavor combination that can’t be beat!
- 1 (12 oz) box tri-color rotini pasta
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber
- 1 1/2 cups tiny chopped broccoli florets
- 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
- 1 cup olives, sliced
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced baby carrots
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 1/3 cups bottled Italian salad dressing (I prefer Kraft with this recipe)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente but do not season water with salt (the dressing has plenty). Drain an rinse until cold water.
- Pour pasta into a bowl, add tomatoes, broccoli, bell pepper, olives, cucumber, carrots, red onion and parmesan.
- Pour dressing over and toss to evenly coat. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day). Add a little more dressing if needed.
Do you love cheese? Try adding a heaping cup of small cubed of mozzarella to this recipe.