Posted in Easy, Salads, Vegetables

Easy Italian Pasta Salad


Original Post September 2010: We had a family BBQ over the weekend and with our crazy schedule, I had to make a menu that takes minimal effort.  The night before I threw this together and it worked out really well.  Instead of trying to come up with a homemade salad dressing, I figured it’s easier to buy the salad dressing and just “jazz” it up a little with fresh basil & garlic.

If there are some ingredients that do not appeal to you, feel free to substitute.  Here are some ideas:

– grated parmesan instead of mozzerella

– Minced onion instead of garlic

– Chopped celery

– chopped tomatoes

Have fun with it because that’s what it’s all about…

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Serves 16

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Refrigerator: 2 hours

Ingredients:

8 ounces pasta

8 ounces Italian ham

1 can artichoke hearts – rinsed and drained

8 ounces roasted red peppers – drained and rinsed

¼ cup pitted calamata olives

1 cup low fat Italian salad dressing

2 cloves garlic – minced

½ cup low fat grated mozzarella cheese

¼ cup fresh basil – chopped

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water up to a boil and add pasta.  Cook according to package directions then drain and rinse under cold water until the pasta is cool to the touch.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, chop the ham, artichoke hearts, red peppers and olives and spoon into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add pasta, salad dressing, garlic and cheese.  Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Right before serving, chop fresh basil and toss.