A few posts ago I wrote about my go-to potato salad, and today I want to share with you my favorite simple pasta salad. Lets face it, everyone needs these two picnic staples in their recipe box, and these are mine.
Inspired by a pasta salad that Ryan grew up eating, this quick and easy side dish is light and colorful with a zesty twist from Italian dressing and Parmesan cheese. Yum!
What’s more, this recipe is incredibly versatile. Are you a veggie lover? Simply add more veggies or swap in your favorites! Looking for a little meat? Slice up some pepperoni or turkey pepperoni and throw it in! Want more cheesy flavor? Add in some fresh mozzarella cubes; it would be delish! Just be sure to adjust the dressing accordingly, if you add a lot more ingredients.
Here’s a question: Does anyone use an actual recipe box anymore? I have a recipe book in which I write my favorite recipes, but not a physical box. Let me know below!
Paula’s Notes: Be sure you use a good quality Italian dressing that you love, as this will play a big role in the flavor quality of your pasta. Enjoy!
Italian Pasta Salad
- 8 oz penne (or any other short cut pasta)
- 1 cup fresh green beans cut into two inch pieces (about the length of the penne)
- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes or 1 large ripe tomato, cubed
- 3-4 stalks green onion – finely sliced
- You may also use a yellow or red onion for a stronger onion flavor.
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) Italian dressing
- You may also use a light dressing with equally tasty results. Be sure to see my note above, however.
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
- Add pasta to water and cook according to package directions.
- Add cut green beans to pasta water at the last two minutes of cook time.
- Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta and beans are cooled.
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients together, gently stirring to coat all pasta and veggies thoroughly in dressing and Parmesan.
- Chill pasta in refrigerator at least an hour, and enjoy!
- If your pasta looks dry the next day, simply add a little more Italian dressing until desired consistency is reached.