We’ve been making this pasta salad at our house for as long as I can remember. It’s quick and easy, and balanced—pasta, protein, cheese, and four different veggies. We’ve always used Zesty Italian dressing for this, but this time we decided to make our own dressing. Sometimes Zesty Italian can have that really strong aftertaste.
By making it ourselves, the aftertaste went away, and so did most of the salt and preservatives. You’ll probably notice that I am a HUGE fan of homemade salad dressings. We started making them last year, and ever since then we haven’t bought a single bottled dressing. There is such a significant taste difference to me. I can barely stand the taste of store-bought ranch or Italian—does that make me a salad dressing snob?
You can find our recipe for Homemade Zesty Italian by clicking the link.
You will need:
- 1 lb shell pasta
- 2-3 crowns of broccoli, chopped
- 3 cups of chopped carrots
- 2 cups of chopped yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 – 1 cup of sliced red onions
- 2 cups of cubed turkey ham
- 2 cups of cheese cubes
- 1 small bottle of Zesty Italian dressing, or 1-2 cups of homemade Italian
First, wash and chop all of your veggies.
Next, boil your pasta according to the box directions. Add the broccoli and carrots during the last 3 minutes so that they soften a little.
If you are making homemade dressing, use this time to whisk the ingredients together. Our recipe contained apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, honey, fresh oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.
In a BIG bowl, add drained pasta, carrots, broccoli, cheese cubes, turkey ham, onions and yellow bell pepper. Add the Zesty Italian dressing and stir.
Store in the fridge for an hour or so, letting the pasta cool down.
I don’t have a picture of the finished product, but I figured you could get the idea from the last pic above.
I love pasta salads because they are so customizable. You can add/substitute anything you want according to your tastes. They are super easy to make, last for days in the fridge, and are convenient to take to work.
Other examples of quick pasta salads:
- Farfalle (bow-tie) with Caesar dressing, cherry tomatoes, spinach, parmesan cheese
- Angel hair pieces with olive oil, garlic, basil, fresh mozzarella chunks
Experiment with your favorite pasta, salad dressing, and veggies
What is your favorite pasta salad? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!