I LOVE a good pasta salad. That’s right, I said it. Sometimes I just crave carbs! And there’s nothing like a delicious pasta salad to satisfy my craving, especially as a side dish at your summer BBQ.
First, let’s not confuse pasta salad with macaroni salad (you know, the kind oozing with mayo. YUCK. If you know me at all, you know that I despise mayo, and the mere sight of it can make me sick to my stomach). Okay, so your typical pasta salad usually consists of pasta, veggies, maybe some meat and cheese, all mixed up with some sort of Italian dressing. YUM.
For this pasta salad, which is now my favorite pasta salad, I used cheese tortellini (but you can use any type of pasta you’d like, even quinoa or brown rice pasta if you’d like to go gluten-free), salami, baby spinach, black olives, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil (yes!!), Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts (these are also optional, but I think they make the salad extra special).
Here is the Recipe for Tortellini Pasta Salad (aka BEST PASTA SALAD EVER):
You will need:
2 9 or 10 oz. packages of fresh or dried cheese tortellini (or pasta of choice)
Half a bag of baby spinach (about 3 oz.)
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (about 2 cups)
8 oz. salami or pepperoni, sliced and diced into bite-sized chunks
3 oz. can sliced black olives, drained
2/3 cup fresh grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, sliced into ribbons (see below)
1/2 cup pine nuts (optional)
2/3 cup Italian dressing of choice
Here’s what to do:
Cook tortellini al dente according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside. While pasta is cooking, slice cherry tomatoes and salami.
Slice fresh basil into ribbons, here’s how:
1. Stack basil leaves in a pile. 2. Tightly roll them up like a cigarette. 3. Cut thin slices across the roll. 4. Perfectly sliced basil ribbons!
In a large bowl, combine cooled tortellini and all other ingredients except salad dressing. Mix well, but gently so tortellini don’t break up. Add more spinach if you’d like a more salad-based pasta salad. Add salad dressing to coat lightly.
Store in the fridge so flavors can combine. Toss again before serving. Add extra dressing if needed. Enjoy!
Do you have a favorite pasta salad recipe? Tell me in the comments below!