This spaghetti salad recipe is great for a summertime picnic! This is the pasta salad I’ll be making all summer long at barbecues. It’s easy to put together, has lots of taste, and uses lots of fresh ingredients.
All the dishes for this week have been carefully selected because they are not only simple but also simple to prepare in advance… because I totally realize that you’d rather be hanging out with your buddies than fussing over a salad.
Prep Time: 12 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 22 minutes
INGREDIENTS FOR A PASTA SALAD
In addition to the pasta, I add ripe cherry tomatoes, tangy feta cheese, arugula, protein-rich chickpeas, crunch-inducing pine nuts and miniature cucumbers, and aromatic fresh parsley and basil.
The dressing is easy to make: it’s a zesty blend of olive oil, lemon, garlic, Dijon, herbs & seasonings — I like to use herbes de Provence but Italian seasoning would be equally wonderful in its stead.
A SIMPLE RECIPE FOR PASTA SALAD
This is a really simple dish to prepare. Just stick to these basic instructions:
- Prepare your pasta by cooking it in a big pot of salted water. After it has cooled, drain it, stir it with olive oil, and set it aside.
- Cherry tomatoes and cucumbers should be chopped, parsley should be minced, and feta should be crumbled.
- Combine the dressing ingredients with a whisk.
- Put everything in a large basin and mix thoroughly. Season to your liking and dive in.
TOP PASTA SALAD ADVICE
- Pasta should be cooked for a few minutes longer than usual. Pasta should be cooked slightly past al dente (but not mushy) so that it retains its chewiness and texture after being refrigerated. In my experience, spaghetti salad is best when cooked for a longer period of time than is recommended on the box.
- You should wait until the pasta is totally cool before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. The heated pasta will begin to cook and wilt the vegetables if they are still warm. Cucumber is not a popular ingredient, thus the pasta should be served cold.
- Don’t throw away those herbs just yet! If you plan on serving this pasta salad as an appetizer, keep some of the herbs and pine nuts for later. The pine nuts’ crunchiness will be preserved, while the herbs’ freshness, beauty, and flavor will be amplified.
- Put it to the test and tweak it as necessary. As with many salad recipes, this one is highly adaptable; before serving, give it a taste and see if there’s anything you’d like to change. If you like a tangier salad, add more lemon; if you like lots of vegetables, add more greens; and remember to salt to taste.
IDEAS FOR SIMPLE PASTA SALADS
This pasta salad is great as is, but feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your preferences or what you have on hand. Some ideas are as follows:
- Veg it out! Swap out the feta for olives or sun-dried tomatoes.
- Remove the gluten! Swap the regular noodles for quinoa or gluten-free spaghetti.
- Use Greek. Add a half cup of thinly sliced red onion and some kalamata or black olives to turn this into a traditional Greek pasta salad.
- Have a caprese salad. Mini mozzarella balls, cut in half, can be substituted for the feta.
- Use a different herb. This salad would benefit greatly from the addition of fresh oregano or thyme in place of the mint.
- If you want more pasta and fewer vegetables, replace the arugula with spinach or leave it out entirely.
- You may also bake your chickpeas for a crunchier snack.
5.5-Quart Dutch Oven
- 3 cups uncooked fusilli pasta
- 2 heaping cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 cup Persian cucumbers, sliced into thin half moons
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup basil leaves, torn
- ½ cup minced parsley
- ½ cup chopped mint
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- Extra-virgin olive oil, about a quarter cup plus more for drizzling
- Juice from 3 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon of horseradish
- Minced garlic from 3 cloves
- 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence
- Pepper flakes, about a quarter teaspoon
- 1/2 gram kosher salt
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