When it comes to making salads – any kind of salad, it is important to me that it have a lot of color. Nothing makes a salad seem dull like being monotone. I’m not saying there can’t be a delicious color deficient salad out there… I’m just saying that colorful is attractive and probably contains a lot more delicious ingredients.
This pasta salad truly is a meal, in and of, itself. The tri-color rotini give the salad color but doesn’t really add any extra nutritional value. I couldn’t imagine using anything else… that would be too much white in the salad. On occasion I use both black and green olives, but this time I used only black. You can add them in if you desire.
The pepperoni mini’s are something new I tried out this time. Since I moved to California, it’s difficult to find a good stick of pepperoni. It was never an issue in New York. The mini’s cut out a step and seemed like a good idea for a pasta salad.
You can add more or less cheese (or any ingredient) based on your personal tastes. You can also grill your own red peppers or use the marinated kind you find in a jar (i did) there’s no shame in it – you can find some delicious roasted reds.
12oz Tri-color Rotini (I used Barilla)
1 small onion, chopped
6oz. small black olives, whole
5oz. Pepperoni Mini’s or chopped regular
4oz. died cheddar cheese
1-2 roasted red peppers, chopped
Blend of Italian seasonings, garlic powder, salt & pepper
Red wine vinegar
Boil pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, prepare, chop, and add all ingredients up to the roasted reds into a nice big serving bowl.
When pasta is done, rinse under cold water to bring the temp down. Once cool, drain very well and add pasta to bowl containing all the other ingredients. Stir to combine all ingredients.
I don’t measure my spices. I generally eye-ball how much I need. I add thyme, oregano, marjoram, basil, rosemary, and sage. For the oil and vinegar, I add a few drizzles of olive oil, and a healthy does of the vinegar. Remember, you can always add more – but you can’t take it out. Add less than you think you’ll need, taste, add more etc. Finally, salt and pepper to taste and combine well. Serve.
This has always been my favorite summer salad. This, or some combination of the ingredients. It certainly has evolved over the years… and will likely do so since I’m now considering adding marinated artichoke hearts the next time. It is usually a crowd pleaser… Christopher seemed to enjoy it, and it usually gets fully consumed at cookouts and parties. It’s a great take-along for outdoor summer parties (no mayo).