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Pasta Salad Week - Old Standbys


Yesterday, in my introduction to pasta salad week, I mentioned how we all probably have the "old standby" salad which we bring with us to picnics and BBQs every year. In college my standby pasta salad was nothing more than bowties or fusilli mixed with a bottle of Italian dressing, pepperoni, peppers, onions, and feta. Simple and tasty. But growing up my mom always made one that was pretty unusual. She would pack it up for me to take all sorts of places, from swim meets to school lunches. We've re-created her pasta salad a few times since then just tooling it out and guessing; but last week I called my mom in order to get the exact recipe to share with you. One bite brought me back all sorts of memories!

This pasta salad is super simple because it uses store-bought dressings and pre-made spice blends. Now you know that normally these might be no-no's on TFiMB; but embrace it! McCormick's "salad supreme" seasoning and some bottled Cesar dressing is what makes this pasta salad so great! It is quick and easy to make and tastes really unique!

The recipe and post are really short today. Not only because this pasta salad is so simple, but because I wanted this to be an interactive post. I want you guys to tell me what YOUR "old standby" pasta salad is! Some of my more active commenters have disappeared lately... where are you guys?!? Come back and tell me your favorite pasta salad that is the first thing you think of when you are asked to bring something to a picnic or BBQ.


Pasta Salad Week Menu:

Monday:         Intro and old pasta salad posts
Today:           Old Standbys
Wednesday:   A Healthier Version
Thursday:       Leftover Pasta Salads
Friday:           Playing with colors and shapes


All the ingredients. I was going to write on this picture, but everything seemed pretty self explanatory.

Yum. Pepperoni makes pasta salads good.

Is this ACTUALLY Caesar's dressing, like the real Caesar?

A lot of people like to rinse pasta when it is going into a pasta salad. I say why is it different from making hot pasta? You still want the dressing and the noodles to mix and absorb each other. Try putting hot pasta into your favorite pasta salad and letting it all cool off together. I think you will be pleased with the results.

YA! Like I said before, one bite brought back all the memories of eating this pasta salad as a kid. Try this pasta salad for your next picnic! It tastes good warm right after you make it, but it is even better cold eaten outside on a hot day.

Mom's Pasta Salad
1 smaller bottle Caesar dressing. (NOT creamy, Newman's or Ken's are good options)
1 can diced tomatoes (juice and all)
2 tablespoons or so of "salad supreme" seasoning from McCormick's
10 to 20 pepperoni depending on their size and your preference
Parmesan cheese
1 lb linguini

Cook pasta in very salted water. Strain pasta and mix all ingredients warm. Allow to cool in fridge.


Remember: Half of this post is about you guys. What is your pasta salad standby?




Just discovered this blog, and it's great! I love making pasta salad in the summer. I usually make mine with the following:

linguine or rotoni pasta - I prefer wheat pasta
light Italian dressing - I go the simple route & use bottled dressing
salad supreme
and lots of fresh veggies - red onion, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, red, green & yellow peppers, sliced black & green olives & celery.

It's delicious!!

My old standard is a simple shrimp salad. It's any short pasta, canned shrimp (I suppose fresh would work, but I'm land-locked so canned it is), frozen peas, grated carrot, chopped green onion, chopped celery, and mayonnaise. The trick is to add a few tablespoons of sugar to the mayo until it is sweet and delicious, then mix and let sit overnight so the flavors can blend. Add some fresh green onion or herbs on top and everyone always loves it...

I never really liked Pasta Salad, however I will be trying your recipes throughout this week. My mother used to make a cold pasta salad that involved large macaroni, homemade Italian dressing, cucumber and onions.

It had it's ups and downs.

rotini pasta
italian dressing
chopped tomatoes


I bumped over your page one day and i love your style of cooking! I love making food myself and i started blogging about 3 months ago.. In norwegian though..

I have a great recipe for a pastasalad i would love to share with you. I suits fine with sausages, meat, chicken.. like a side dish. Easy and really tasty!

I dont have exact measurements.. because we use a different measuring system..metric.. but i think you get what i mean:)

Boil 9 oz of macaroni or pasta penne ( or similar)
When its al dente, pour out the water and let it cool down.. either by it self or by holding it under running cold water.

Have 1 cup of mayonaise and 1 cup of sourcream in a bowl with 1/2 chopped leek, 1 red onion and 1 clove of garlic. Press out the juice of 1/2 lemon. Put in the pasta and put salt and pepper after your taste:)

Easy peasy. I hope i got the measures right. It shuld be creamy but not to much. I often use Light products and i works out fine.

Thank you for nice recipies!
Have a beautiful day, here in norway it is gorgeous with sunny days (at last:))


My favorite pasta salad is extremely simple.

Penne pasta
Light "zesty" Italian dressing
Fresh broccoli
Cherry tomatoes
Frozen peas
Cubed mozzarella

There's really no recipe here, you just throw whatever ratio looks good to you and then dump some italian dressing on to coat everything. This stuff, like all pasta salads, is better the second or third or fourth day. I've been known to make a giant batch and take it to work for lunch. Yum.

I like The Hangover reference.
This look very yummmy!!

My standby is a greek pasta salad

greek vinaigrette (Kraft is good)
tomatoes (fresh)
red onion
baby spinach
pepperoncini peppers
more feta :-)

Mine was very similar but very simple. It was an absolute favorite for my kids growing up! 1 lb spaghetti cooked, 1 bottle of Kraft Italian dressing, 1/2 a jar of McCormick Salad supreme. Toss all really well, chill and just before serving add a bit of dressing if too dry, toss in a pint of halved cherry tomatoes. Very simple but everyone always ate it up! As years went by I grew out of the bottled dressings and started using home made italian with fresh herbs, world of difference in flavor!

Ok so we make the Filipino pasta salad most times when we have a BBQ. Why? Because thats all my family eats when it comes to pasta salad. This is how it goes...a little old school but extremely addictive and yummy.

Elbow macaroni
Whole egg mayo
Kraft cheddar cut into tiny pieces
Gerkin relish
fine chopped red onion
chicken pieces
Hard boiled egg
Fine chopped celery
A little grated carrot

And if you're in the mood...grated carrot and sultanas.

Dude, you inspire me. Your life must be full of awesome food, all the time. I'm moving into my first place in a few days, and I'm going to cook for all my housemates. Oh, I bet you're a Food Network fan as well. All praises to Alton! You know whats up.

I have two versions that I love. I use orzo in my pasta salad because I like the size of it, and I eat both of these cold, SO GOOD :)

1) Roasted red peppers
Grape tomatoes
Red onion
Fresh mozzarella
House Italian dressing (I use Wishbone)

2) Mandarin oranges
Red onion
Slivered almonds
Sesame Ginger dressing (I use Marie's)

Pasta salad is like my favorite dish ever, it's my go to meal when I'm out of ideas. Also, I've been a lurker on your blog for a long time but I love it! I love your versions of Indian food, I'm Pakistani so it's all very familiar :)

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