This pasta salad recipe has been a staple in my house for years…it’s a great summertime, BBQ, feed a bunch of people kind of recipe. What I love most about this pasta salad is its versatility; you can pretty much make this recipe however you like. I also love the colors in the salad, with the Rainbow Rotini and fresh vegetables…it reminds me of summer and good times with family and friends. Oh, and did I mention it’s ridiculously easy to make (hence the title)?
This is actually my husband’s original recipe. My husband is not a big fan of cooking…his meals usually consist of Kraft Mac and Cheese, although he has become quite the griller as of late (is griller even a word?? Meh, whatever!). My Mother-in-Law used to make this recipe when my husband was a kid, and he made it for me a long, long time ago. We’ve made a lot of variations of this recipe; we’ve omitted the olives and bacon and added jalapenos, cilantro and pepperjack cheese (thanks to my friend Chi Chi for that idea!), and we’ve also added extra vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or cucumber. You can add whatever you think sounds tasty! The only requirement for this recipe (according to my husband) is that you MUST use Newman’s Own Italian Dressing. According to him, no other dressing tastes quite the same. I haven’t tested his theory, but I trust him. 🙂
I make this recipe in large quantities because it makes great leftovers the next day. If you don’t want to make bucket loads of pasta (okay, it’s not really bucket loads, but it does make a lot of pasta salad), just cut the recipe in half.
- 2 Packages of Rainbow Rotini pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions
- 1 Package of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 Red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 Yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 Medium red onion, diced or finely chopped
- 5-6 Slices of bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled (you can also use bacon bits if you don't have time to cook bacon, but I prefer the real deal)
- 1 Can sliced black olives
- 1 Bottle of Newman's Own Italian Dressing
- 2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar (approximately-I just eyeball it)
- 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Teaspoon seasoned salt
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1/2 Cup (about a handful) of parmesan cheese
- There really aren't a lot of instructions for this recipe; just throw everything into a bowl and mix it up! I like to chill the pasta salad in the fridge for a few hours in order to serve cold, but it's also good served room temperature or even warmed. I sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the pasta salad right before serving.