Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pasta salad

Happy Anniversary Week to my blog-sisters and to all of you who have made this blog so much fun! Thank you for making us feel so welcome. I can't believe its already been a year. Time does indeed fly when you're having a wonderful time!

As promised, we're giving away prizes every single day this week and we're giving away an ice cream maker as our grand prize! Doesn't it look cool? (pun intended) I'm so excited. Wish I could win!

Today I'm giving away a $10 bookstore gift certificate to one lucky commenter. I'll announce that winner's name late tonight, and as soon as you contact me, I'll get your prize out to you!

But now... the food!

My contribution to our meal is pasta salad. I often make a double recipe for parties because this side dish disappears very quickly in our house. It's easy and versatile (we like those attributes on this blog) and can be made in a jiffy.


2 packages spiral pasta. I like to use the tri-colored spirals because they make the pasta look so much cheerier and festive

1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 purple onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped

Prepared Italian salad dressing. I like Wishbone.
Salt, pepper, to taste

(Optional: 1 cucumber, chopped; half pound of mushrooms, chopped, shredded mozzarella)

Prepare pasta according to package directions. After draining, rinse and allow to cool just a little. Add enough of the salad dressing to *very* lightly coat the pasta so it doesn't stick while you wait for it to completely cool.

In the meantime, chop your vegetables. I always include the onion, peppers, and celery, but the other items are your choice. Mushrooms brown after a day in the fridge, so we don't always include those. My kids prefer this without the cheese. I kind of like the added texture, but I don't particularly care for cucumbers in this dish, so I skip them even though everyone else likes them (hey, the cook has to have some perks, right?) That's where this recipe is so versatile. You can make it the way *you* like it best.

Add the chopped vegetables to the cooled pasta, to taste. You may not want to use the entire pepper, or you may want to add more onion. Completely up to you. In the photo below, I made this salad for company - and one of my friend really, really hates peppers. Green, red, any kind. So I skipped them this time.

When all the items are combined to your satisfaction, add a liberal amount of Italian salad dressing until all pasta is well coated, but not swimming in the stuff. Salt and pepper to taste, then... here's the most important part... allow the pasta salad to sit in the fridge for at least an hour. This gives it a nice chill and allows the vegetables to flavor the pasta.

Yum!! Grab a bowlful right away. This will disappear quickly!

Don't forget to check back tonight to see if you've won the bookstore gift certificate!

Thanks for being a part of our lives this past year!


Author of
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE, first in the Manor House Mystery series.


  1. Sounds good! my friend recently read State of the Onion and I tried the Brownie Bites recipe I brought em to work and it was great! Can't wait to try this one out too!

  2. Looks yummy and easy to make.

  3. Now this will be great for our picnic tomorrow and looks so good. This is something my kids can help me make and enjoy. Thank you Julie for sharing a great recipe to try and Happy Anniversary everyone.

  4. Lot of cold salads being posted around foodie blogs lately...

    So good to grab a bowl of this for lunch.

    great tip on the mushrooms. I keep a baggie full in the fridge to add to something like this. The oils will make the mushroom icky very soon if you add them and store the srooms in the salad. But the cheese is a must!

    Great post, and continued props on a terrific blog!

  5. I love this salad. Every time we have a family get together on my DH's side there is a cousin who brings this. I've asked what all she puts in it and she says, 'a little of this, little of that.' Now I know and can surprise her with my own. Thanks

    Congratulations on a wonderful year of sharing wonderful food recipes, great stories and fabulous new authors. Wishing you many, many more.


  6. I'm a big fan of pasta salad - the choices are endless. But I forget about them! thanks for this, Julie - I'm going to stop by the store this evening and plan on picking up some pasta.

    Happy Anniversary, you guys! I love it here!

  7. Hey Shel, thanks! I want to try this another time using your ranch dressing recipe instead of Italian.

    Thanks so much, Suiling_kwong! I *love* those brownie bites. They're easy and decadent! I'm glad to hear your friend enjoyed State of the Onion!

    Dru - *Very* easy. It seems like I'm making it every week in the summer!

    Babs - have fun at your picnic!

    Thanks for visiting us here, Vickie!

    Dave - I bet all the cold salads are because of the crazy heat we're all experiencing. It's been cooler this week, just in the mid- to high- 80s!
    I keep mushrooms in a baggie in the fridge, too! Most of us here are major mushroom fans! We add them to just about everything! Thanks for hanging out with us here!

  8. Hi Mason! - Yep, a little of ... whatever! I have a friend who hates "floaters" in her pasta salad, but I think they're what make it work. Thanks so much for your good wishes. It's been a great year!

    Thanks, Kaye! - Always so great to "see" you! This is just pasta salad weather, isn't it? Enjoy putting yours together tonight!

  9. I would love to make this salad but since it is only 2 of us and husband would not eat it no point in making it. I even have a hard time getting him to eat a mayo based mac salad.

  10. I love pasta salad! I hadn't considered putting cheese in - I just might have to try that!

  11. Yum! I love pasta salad because you can add whatever vegetables you want and it's good for you!

  12. This would be great for all those FRG potlucks. And by changing the veggies or the pasta, you can make it look like a new dish each time you make it. Just read Grace Under Pressure last week. Loved it. And I've added your White House Chef series to my to read pile. Got to check out the Brownie Bites recipe.

  13. Nancy - you can cut the recipe in half and use only one package of spiral pasta. It keeps well in the fridge and makes the right amount for one person for several days. Just a suggestion... I'm sorry your husband doesn't care for salads. He's missing out!

    Kathi - Personally, I love the addition of cheese, but some people don't like the mix of textures. I think cheese adds as certain je ne sais quoi to just about everything. Right, Avery?

    Darcy - So good for you! The veggies for sure. Add a high-fiber pasta and this is a winner all the way around! Yum!

  14. Hi Bookwoman - thanks so much! I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed Grace. But you have me stumped... FRG? I should know this, right?

  15. Congratulations to booklover and runner10 for being our first two winners. Hope you remember to contact me (Avery) or Riley with your information so we can send the prizes.

    Julie, love the pasta salad.

    Kathi - yes, cheese adds a certain je ne sais quoi!!!! Very cute.

    Grace is FRG anything like BYO? :)


  16. I'm always looking for a good pasta salad recipe and this looks delicious! Thanks :-)


  17. Sarah - thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope you enjoy.

    Avery is right... I forgot to say Congrats!! to Booklover and Runner 10!


  18. Pasta salad is the perfect summer food, for me! I could even see dividing this into two bowls and doing two versions. Hmmm . . . maybe some pepperoni and pepperoncini.

  19. Oooh, this one looks very tasty. And so cool. My husband doesn't like pasta salad, but he is going on a business trip for part of next week. I think I'll just make me some. Thanks for sharing, Julie!

  20. Happy Blogoversary, Julie! It's been a wonderful year blogging with a woman who truly is GRACE UNDER PRESSURE -- and congrats on the continued success of your book of the same name! :) As for your delish pasta salad, Our Year on the Grill man, Dave, is right. Cold salads are the perfect recipe for combating these sweltering summer days.

    Cheers and Happy Year 1!!
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  21. This looks very good, especially on a hot day.... please it's easy! Thank you for a great blog!!!!

  22. Sounds like a great salad on a hot summer day.
    I just came back from a pot luck lunch --this would of been a good one to bring.

  23. Oh yum! I like a good pasta salad, and you know you could even add a bit of chicken or chopped up genoa salami (geez I am making myself hungry!) By the by, your newest is flying off our shelves!

  24. The tri-color noodles do make the salad so pretty. I will have to try this salad.

  25. Janel - great idea to separate into two bowls and customize! I might try that next time I serve this to guests!

    Kay - Go for it! Husbands out of town are always the best excuse for making the food *we* like best!

    And Happy Blogoversary to you, Cleo! It's been a blast, hasn't it?

    Donna - it's nice because it's transportable and it appeals to most folks! Mm... I could use a pot luck lunch right now. Anybody have a spot open?

    Maryann - I love the idea of adding chicken to make this an even more substantial dish! Thanks for the good news about Grace. I love hearing news like that!!


  26. Julie, you pasta salad looks wonderful. I love mixing different colors of pasta. It's so festive. And making it with salad dressing simplifies everything. Great idea!

    ~ Krista

  27. Yummy! I love pasta salad in the summer.

  28. First of all let me say a huge thanks for the terrific prize from yesterday!! I am so excited ;-) Pasta salad is a must on my summer menu. Here in Michigan we wait a long time for the first cookout so this is always my contribution. Keep bringing us these wonderful recipes and ideas, ladies as well as fabulous books!!
    p.s. to Shel...where do I find this recipe for ranch dressing everyone is discussing!!! My teens could drink the stuff, if we allowed it!

  29. Oh, good idea. I've got some tricolor pasta--but I'll skip the celery (ugh), add back the peppers, some mushrooms, and some black olives, too. Great addition to our grilled steaks tonight!

  30. Krista - I love all the colors too! So lucky we have tri-colored pasta as an option!

    Dawn - thanks for joining us today.

    Booklover - congrats and Ranch Dressing? Here you go:
    And if for some reason that link doesn't work, just check out our clickable links on the right side of this blog and look for Shel's dressing. It's delish!


  31. Laineshots - ooh, black olives! Great idea!! I'll toss some in next time, too!


  32. My comment to Booklover should have been punctuated differently.
    Should have read:
    Ranch Dressing? Here you go:

    LOL! Always revising!

  33. I made something like this for my children's birthday party this year. I add some chopped green olives and sun dried tomatoes. Super yummy!

    kelly heet at aol dot com

  34. I just adore pasta salad! This one sounds like the perfect addition to a summer meal!

    Thank you for sharing!


  35. Hi Hippie Mama - Chopped green olives and sun-dried tomatoes would be fabulous additions! Thanks!

    Hi Mickie - this really is such a summery favorite! Thank *you* for stopping by!

  36. Pasta salad is one of my favorites and peppers are my favorite veggie but for some blond reason I've never combined them! Great idea! Thanks so much!


  37. My pleasure, Ashley! Glad you like the idea!