Monday, July 12, 2010

Italian Pasta Salad

If you are like me, during the summer you have approximately 593,000 barbecues and potlucks to attend. I'm always trying to think of salads, side dishes, and treats to bring along with me. This is one of my favorites to make--it is quick, delicious, cheap, and it's always a hit. One of the great things about this salad is that it's very versatile. Swap out the olives for cucumbers. Omit the pepperoni. Change the cheddar for mozzarella. Use balsamic vinaigrette instead of Italian dressing. Leave out the crushed red pepper if you don't want it spicy. My favorite dressing to use on this salad is Kraft Roasted Red Pepper or Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette. The possibilities are endless!

Italian Pasta Salad

1 lb. tri-color rotini, cooked and cooled
8 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (1/4 - 1/2 inch)
1 can (6 oz.) black olives, drained and sliced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 oz. pepperoni, sliced or cubed
1/2 bottle Italian salad dressing, or to taste
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

Combined all ingredients and toss. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 8 hours. Enjoy!

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