Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The most delicious pasta salad EVER.

I don't do a lot of cooking. It's not that I don't enjoy it, but I just struggle to find the time and energy to cook because it doesn't come naturally to me the way other things do (like making jewelry or reading books or writing blog posts). When I set out to cook something, it is ALWAYS an ordeal. And, if I'm trying out a new recipe, chances are I will get annoyed/flustered/impatient/pessimistic for at least a few minutes during the process. I stress about whether I'm measuring properly (do you pack it in to the measuring cup or spoon it in loosely? do you sift the flour before or after measuring? and so on). I get grossed out by touching raw meat with my hands. I fret over how long to leave something in the oven if I'm given a range like 20-30 minutes (which is it -- 20 or 30?!).

Basically, I'm a newbie in the kitchen. And I'm a passive newbie, so my progress as a cook has been verrrrry slow over the years. But I'm gaining confidence little by little, and I'm beginning to add recipes to my "Things I Know I Can Cook That Other People Will Actually Eat" file.

One of the things I can make without much anxiety is pasta salad. The original recipe came from my friend Konnie, who brought this salad to my bridal shower. I've tweaked it just a little to my own liking, and I've gotten a couple of requests for the recipe since I posted a photo to Instagram last week.

(Sorry I don't have step by step photos. I always THINK about doing that when I'm making something, and then I get too overwhelmed with the cooking process to add another piece to the puzzle.)

The Most Delicious Pasta Salad Ever*
*assuming your taste buds are the same as mine


For the salad:
  • 1 to 1 ½ boxes rotini pasta (I used Ronzoni Garden Delight for this pretty tri-color stuff)
  • 1 container crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 jar roasted red & yellow peppers (I get mine from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • About ¼ cup sliced black olives (I hate these; I just put them in if I'm making this for other people who like them)
For the dressing*:
  • 4 oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • A few sprinkles of Mrs. Dash garlic & herb spices (or other salt-free spices)
  • A few grinds of black pepper
*Hat Tip to my dad who gave me his dressing recipe; mine's just missing his secret ingredient, which I haven't had on hand to try yet!

  1. Boil the pasta per the package directions; drain and refrigerate in a sealed container for several hours or overnight. (I toss mine with a little bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking.)
  2. Dice up the artichoke hearts and red/yellow peppers into smaller pieces and toss in the bowl with the pasta, along with the olives and feta cheese.
  3. To prepare the dressing, combine all ingredients in a cup or dressing container and stir/shake around until well mixed. Add more spices, oil or vinegar to taste (I think I ended up with about 5 oz oil and 4 oz vinegar last time).
  4. Pour dressing over salad. Start with about half a cup, then shake/stir the salad to coat. Add more dressing to taste/preference. (I end up with probably at least a cup of dressing because I REALLY love this stuff.)
  5. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container overnight to allow the flavors to really sink in.
What I love about this recipe is it's so easy to tweak, and very difficult to screw up. You can adjust the veggies/spices to your liking, use a store-bought dressing, use a different type of pasta...the possibilities are endless!

Let me know if you make this! I'd love to hear what you think, how you tweaked it, how it went over at your dinner party, and all that jazz.


  1. Sounds yummy. Maybe you should make it for the BBQ next week. My mouth is watering.

    1. Thank you for making it for the BBQ. It was absolutely delicious. My mouth is watering again just thinking about it!

  2. I hate the feel of raw meat, too, especially when my nails are longer and the smell just... lingers. It's also been problematic because of the relatively frequent open wounds I've had on my hands. So I keep a package of vinyl or latex gloves onhand, and use them for times when I don't want to handle raw meat with my bare hands :-)

  3. Tabitha! Thanks for sharing your recipe! It sounds delicious and like the perfect side to bring for a potluck/BBQ, which is especially important for me these days since these Midwesterners love their cookouts/tailgate parties! Hope you are well and we should chat sometime, I'd love to catch up on what's going on in your life and how we can pray for each other :)


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