Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes for Your Next Brunch

pasta salad recipes

Do you remember the last time you were blown away by a pasta dish? Well, pasta salad recipes are so common, especially during winter brunches. You will see all kinds of them, usually with the corn or bell peppers. They are easy to make and delicious. However, what makes pasta salad recipes even better is something that you should know. It is simple! Understanding the balance of seasoning, herbs, the texture of the pasta, and more such details are what make your pasta salad the best.

According to food critics and historians, pasta in salads is comparatively new. Before the discovery of such dishes, pasta was considered one of the most glamorous Italian dishes. It was in the 1970s that a few exotic cold pasta and salads were featured in the New York Times magazines.

The first out of all chefs to bring a pasta salad in the market was Craig Claiborne. He was the food editor of the magazine. His dish was New Orleans cold pasta salad that included cooked pasta along with sautéed vegetables, chicken, a vinaigrette, and other ingredients. Later, a wide variety of healthy pasta salad recipes were developed during the ’80s and ’90s. In this article, you will learn some easy pasta salad recipes that you can make the next time you are hosting a brunch.

Easy and tasty pasta salad recipes

Traditional cold salads started incorporating cooked pasta, and that is how you got pasta salads. In these sections, you will be able to learn some of the tastiest pasta salad recipes using readily available ingredients. So, put on your chef caps, and let’s get started.

Pasta salad with chicken

The list could not have a better start than with this recipe that includes fusilli pasta. One tip for such healthy pasta salad recipes is that you must make sure that the pasta does not become mushy. Cooking pasta exactly al-dente is the primary talent when you choose to make dishes like this. Now, let’s move on to the main recipe.

Ingredients (for salad):

  1. Fusilli pasta- 1 lb.
  2. Dill herb (freshly chopped)- tbsp
  3. Boneless chicken breasts (skinless)- 2 pieces
  4. ¼ thinly sliced red onion
  5. Garlic powder- 1tsp
  6. crumbled feta- ½ c.
  7. Kosher salt
  8. spinach, packed- 2 c.
  9. black pepper (Freshly ground)
  10. grape tomatoes (halved)- 2 c.
  11. olive oil (extra-virgin)- 1 tbsp
  12. bacon (crumbled and cooked)- 4 slices

Ingredients (for dressing):

  1. olive oil (extra-virgin)- ¼ c.
  2. black pepper (Freshly ground)
  3. vinegar (red wine)- 3 tbsp
  4. Kosher salt
  5. Italian seasoning- ½ tsp
  6. Dijon mustard- 1 tbsp
  7. Minced garlic

Process:

  1. We will start the process by simply boiling the fusilli pasta in boiling water. You can refer to the package instructions for this step. Just make sure that you add some salt to the boiling water. Also, do not forget to cook the pasta only till it is al-dente.
  2. Take the chicken breasts and pat them dry with paper towels. Now, season the pieces with some salt, garlic powder, and fresh ground pepper. Now, in a skillet, heat oil over medium flame and start cooking the chicken. Fry them till they turn into a nice golden brown. Make sure you fry them for at least 7-8 minutes per side. Now take them out of the pan, rest them for some time, and then cut them into pieces of 1”.
  3. While the chicken cooks, turn to make your dressing. In a medium-sized bowl, pour in olive oil, seasoning, vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Whisk the liquid well and then add pepper and salt to balance the taste of the dressing.
  4. Now in the pasta bowl, pour in all other ingredients, including the chicken pieces. To this, add the dressing and keep tossing till everything is coated together.

Authentically Italian

One of the most popular pasta salad recipes is the Italian style, and it forms a part of almost all potlucks. Now, before starting on with the ingredients and the process, you must learn a few tips and tricks to make your pasta perfect. Check out the points below, and don’t forget to follow them for all of your next Italian pasta salad recipes.

  1. Salt the water in which you are going to boil your pasta. The precise measurement is to add about 2 tbsp kosher salt in every pound of pasta that you use. Yes, it may sound like extra to you, but it is not. That is precisely how you can enhance the flavor of your pasta dish.
  2. It is useful if you follow the pasta cooking instructions given on the pack of the package. However, most of the time, the specifications about the boiling time is incorrect. The leading pasta brands state that you must boil your pasta for about 9-10 minutes. However, the truth is that 5-6 minutes is enough for the perfect al dente texture. Otherwise, it may become all mushy. If you are not an expert, then the best way is to keep checking every 2 minutes.
  3. The best trick you will learn here is not to rinse your pasta after boiling. You will see that there is a thin starchy layer coating the pasta. If you wash the pasta with cold water, it will go. However, the starchy layer acts as an adhesive to hold back whatever dressing you want to mix. So, you shouldn’t rinse the boiled pasta with cold water, and let the coating stay.
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Ingredients:

  1. Cooked fusilli pasta- 16 oz.
  2. Mozzarella balls (halved)- 8 oz
  3. Salami (quartered)- 4 oz.
  4. Baby spinach- 2 c.
  5. cherry tomatoes (halved)- 1 c.
  6. artichoke hearts (chopped)- 1 c.
  7. black olives (sliced)- ½ c.
  8. olive oil- 1/3 c.
  9. vinegar (red wine)- 2 tbsp
  10. One clove of garlic (minced)
  11. Italian seasoning- 2 tsp
  12. Parsley (freshly chopped)- 1 tbsp
  13. Red chili flakes- a pinch
  14. Kosher salt
  15. Black pepper (freshly ground)

Process:

  1. Take a large bowl and put in all ingredients such as the cooked pasta, olives, mozzarella, artichokes, salami, tomatoes, and spinach. Now start tossing together everything to in the flavors.
  2. Keep the mixing bowl aside and start working on the dressing. To make that, pour in some olive oil, red wine vinegar, chili flakes, garlic, parsley, and Italian seasoning. Put a lid and start shaking to mix all the dressing ingredients. Get the seasoning correct with pepper and salt.
  3. Drizzle the dressing liquid all over the cooked pasta and enjoy your vegetarian pasta salad.

Tuscan Tortellini salad

One of the easiest to make pasta salad recipes is this one, and you can use it for any potluck, picnic or brunch. Before you move on the actual method, take a look at the commonly asked questions.

  •      Can you alter a few ingredients in the dish?

Yes, you can! For example, you can use fresh, cherry tomatoes instead of sun-dried ones in such pasta salad recipes. Also, you can use kale in place of spinach. You can use salami instead of bacon, or maybe alter the types of cheese you are using. There is no hard and fast rule about pasta salads. You are free to choose your ingredients.

  •      How to make a vinaigrette at home?

We all love a sweet vinaigrette, and so you can easily make it at home. The best way to make a lovely vinaigrette is by mixing vinegar, seasonings, oil, and other ingredients to a jar. Now shake the jar well until everything is incorporated correctly.

  •      Can you make a pasta salad a day in advance?

Yes, you can do it a day in advance. Moreover, a pasta salad works very well if you prepare all the ingredients and then assemble just before serving. The tip if you are prepping the night before is not to add the spinach so ahead of time. Just keep the other ingredients and then add the spinach when you will be serving. Also, don’t forget to refrigerate the items to keep them fresh.

Ingredients:

  1. Cheese tortellini- 1 lb.
  2. Parmesan (freshly grated)- ¼ c.
  3. Olive oil (extra virgin)- ¼ c
  4. Sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)- ½ c.
  5. Balsamic vinegar- 2tbsp
  6. Baby spinach- ½ c.
  7. Honey- ½ tbsp
  8. Prosciutto or salami (chopped)- ¾ c.
  9. Kosher salt
  10. Black pepper (freshly grounded)
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Process:

  1. Take a large-sized pot and start by boiling some water to cook the tortellini. Make sure you cook the pasta only till al dente, and also, do not forget to add some salt to enhance the flavor of your pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta and keep aside in a big mixing bowl.
  2. To make the dressing, mix in some olive oil with honey and balsamic vinegar. Start whisking and add some pepper and salt for the seasoning. Keep whisking until it changes a little bit of color so that you know that the dressing is ready to go with the salad.
  3. Now to the pasta bowl, add the cheese, tomatoes, spinach, chopped prosciutto or salami. Mix everything and adjust the seasoning with some pepper and salt. Your cold pasta salad with Italian dressing is ready.

Bacon and chicken salad

The other term for bacon is happiness, and so this pasta salad can make you happy whenever you have it. It is yet another one from the list of quick and easy pasta salad recipes with few ingredients. Before the cooking starts, let’s get into some more tricks about the must-haves in your pasta salad bowl.

  •      Fatty/creamy things

Spicing up your pasta salad is a must, and by the variety, we do not mean the number of ingredients always. In this case, range means several textures in your salad. Adding fatty and creamy ingredients in the mixture means it becomes even more delicious. To make sure that happens, you may add mozzarella balls, chopped salami, bacon crumbles, shredded feta, avocado pieces, and so on.

  •      Crunchy bits

The main crunchy bits are the leafy greens and the fresh vegetables that are included in the salad. For example, you are adding the onions, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumber, and so on. If you do not have any leafy, crunchy bits to the salad, it will become very creamy and dense and lack taste.

  •      Salty bits

The salty bits include the pickles or the preserved ingredients that bring in the significant savory part to the salad.

  •      Correct dressing

Now that you know how to make a dressing, you must know how important it is when you are making a salad. The vinaigrette or the dressing is the part that adds a zingy taste and flavor to the food.

Ingredients:

  1. Penne or Gemelli- 1 lb.
  2. Chives (freshly chopped)- 2 tbsp
  3. Olive oil (extra virgin)- 1 tbsp
  4. Ranch dressing- ½ c.
  5. Chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)- 2 lb
  6. Four slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled)- ½ c
  7. Kosher salt
  8. Black pepper (freshly grounded)

Process:

  1. Take a large-sized pot and start by boiling some water to cook the Gemelli. Make sure you cook the pasta only till al dente, and also, do not forget to add some salt to enhance the flavor of your pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta and keep aside in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Take the chicken breasts and pat them dry with paper towels. Now, season the pieces with some salt and fresh ground pepper. Now, in a skillet, heat oil over medium flame and start cooking the chicken. Fry them till they turn into a nice golden brown. Make sure you fry them for at least 7-8 minutes per side. Now take them out of the pan, rest them for some time, and then cut them into pieces of 1”.
  3. Now add all the ingredients to the bowl that contains the pasta and toss properly till everything gets mixed. Your pasta salad is ready to serve.

Final thoughts

Pasta is a popular favorite, and a little variety sounds fantastic. So, you can learn these awesome pasta salad recipes to treat your guests the next time they come to a house party or brunch.

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