This pasta salad recipe is it. I’m sure by now you’ve tried 20 different versions of pasta salad. Perhaps, you even have your own recipe that you adore. But, I want you to give this one a try. It’s premium! To me, a pasta salad can be plain jane and not that exciting of a dish. I always wanted to create a version that is high quality, full of flavor and contains an ingredient or two you don’t see in many other versions. Just a little perk that I consider this one healthier in that it’s protein packed and loaded with veggies. I hope you love my healthy pasta salad recipe as much as we do here!
- 1 box pasta preferable spiral
- 1/2 bottle italian dressing
- 3 oz turkey pepperoni
- 3 oz salami
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cucumber
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper
- 4 oz roasted red pepper
- 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 red onion
- Cook pasta al dente
- Finely chop red onions and marinade in Italian dressing for a more subtle flavor
- Chop up all remaining ingredients in similar sizes.
- Drain and rinse pasta
- Submerge colander of pasta in a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process
- Combine the cooled pasta with all chopped up ingredients and red onion marinade.
- Add additional dressing (to preference) and toss.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes prior to serving. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
My Pasta Salad Tips:
- chop all mix ins to about the same size; there’s something about this that makes it feel quality
- I had to do my best to guestimate amounts below but when I make this pasta salad myself, I really just eyeball portions (ex: yeah, that’s enough cucumber or I’d like to add a bit more pepperoni)
- I included all the ingredients I typically use but most times, I’m short an ingredient or two and it’s still phenomenal so do the best with what you have
- I like to use less dressing on day 1 and then add a bit more, toss and serve each day we eat it
Because this dish is such a hit among my entire family, I thought it would be fun to throw in some family facts.
1. Leo’s, my 3 year old and Beckham’s, my 1 year old current favorite activity is a dance party. We turn YouTube on the TV and bounce from Baby Shark to Soulja Boy (there are versions where superheros dance and my kids love it?!) and Lion King has been a recent fav. It keeps them entertained and I won’t lie… it puts mom and dad in such a good mood to dance around the living room with them too.
2. We don’t do “desserts” at our home- like I don’t make a batch of brownies or have cookies on hand but we love popsicles. In fact, we have an entire drawer in the freezer with popsicles. I try to look for ones that are natural and lower in overall carbs/sugar. We buy GoodPop, Outshine, Yasso and the whole fruit starwberry bars (goodness- those are good!).
3. Many of you know Anthony and I were born and raised in Wisconsin. Growing up, we spent summers going “up north” to the lake. After having children, we planned on spending summers in Wisconsin with family and friends and living a simple lake life. We had plans to rent a house this summer, but covid changed our plans. We’ve been going to a local lake every Saturday AM… we have a spot we pick up bagels at, sit outside, feed the fish and watch the boats. Right now, with a 1 + 3 year old, I’m not crazy about lake swimming/boating but I do look forward to that soon.
4. When our boys were babies, Anthony actually did the majority of the nighttime feeds. I switched to exclusive pumping/bottles pretty early. I remember telling him “you just do such a good job with it.” To which he replied: “I know what you’re doing.” haha but he still did it.
5. Anthony and I would love to have more children (God willing) but are definitely wanting to wait a bit until Leo is kindergarten age… 2 under 2 life will do that to you 😉