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Friday, May 13, 2011

Recipe Friday: Pasta Salads

The weather is finally getting warm and soon you will be invited to backyard barbacues, family reunions, and outdoor events. This means quick and easy potluck side dishes that will sure to please the crowds.

Grilled Veggie and Pasta Salad

2/3 cup Italian dressing
4 cups fresh vegetables, 1-inch pieces
1 package (12 ounces) farfalle (bow-tie) pasta


  • Pour 1/3 cup of the dressing over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
  • Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Drain vegetables, reserving marinade. Thread vegetables on each of eight 10-inch metal skewers. Brush with marinade. Cover and grill vegetables 4 to 6 inches from medium heat 15 to 20 minutes, turning and brushing twice with marinade, until crisp-tender.
  • While vegetables are grilling, cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
  • Remove vegetables from skewers. Toss vegetables, pasta and remaining 1/3 cup dressing, adding additional dressing if desired.
Speedway Pasta Salad

1 package (16 ounces) wagon wheel pasta or rotini pasta
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup reduced-fat Italian dressing
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon fresh dried oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
5 roma (plum) tomatoes, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 large peeled or unpeeled cucumber, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium red onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained

  • Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water; drain.
  • Mix tomato sauce, dressing, basil and oregano in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss.
  • Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled but no longer than 48 hours.
Chicken Parmesan Pasta Salad


8 oz. (3 cups) uncooked pasta nuggets (radiatore)
1 cup fresh baby carrots, halved diagonally
1 cup fresh small broccoli florets
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
¼ cup sliced green onions
½ red bell pepper, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
1 cup purchased peppercorn ranch salad dressing
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Cook pasta to desired doneness as directed on package, adding carrots and broccoli during last minute of cooking time. 
  • Drain; rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well.
  • In large serving bowl, combine cooked pasta, carrots and broccoli with chicken, onions, bell pepper and cucumber; mix well. Add dressing and cheese; toss gently to coat.
Have a wonderful and sunny weekend!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue


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