Summer Pasta Salad Delight

We all know the dilemma, we’re asked to prepare a side to take to the family summer reunion, a neighbor’s for dinner, or we’re agonizing over what to make for the patio get together. Someone else is on grill master duty, and you’re on point for bringing the side dish that looks good, isn’t boring, tastes good, and feeds everyone. The dilemma is over because I’ve got the solution, Summer Pasta Salad Delight! It’s savory and herby without being overpowering. There’s a subtle sweetness to the homemade dressing that is so delicious. The dressing is perfect for this side dish but can be made to accompany other salad features as a great all around Italian dressing of choice.

The presentation comes together beautifully with the robust colors from the fresh herbs and colorful veggies, it’s not just delightful to look at but is satisfying to eat. Unlike other pasta salads, I call for spaghetti pasta noodles, which are so tasty dredged in the Italian, slightly sweet, parmesan dressing. This dish is wonderful served chilled day 1, but is still so enjoyable day 2. Oh, so good!!

Prep/Cook Time:~2 hours: 10 minutes for dressing (make the night before); 1.5 hours to prepare pasta noodles: boil water, cook and chill; 15-20 minutes to cut veggies and arrange for serving. *Tip: prep time can be reduced by running cold water over cooked noodles until very cold to touch throughout the batch of spaghetti. Recipe does not require noodles to be chilled, although preferred.

Serves: ~6

Author: Mindi Cunningham | sweet basil & lemon

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar 

3 Tbsp of honey

1 heaping Tbps of minced garlic

4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp of garlic power or onion powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp black pepper

Dash of paprika

Loose handful of fresh basil

Loose handful of fresh Italian parsley

*dressing will have a slight green coloring from the fresh herbs. Double dressing recipe if you want to make the whole box of spaghetti and you’ll have a bit left over

Salad Ingredients:

Half to 3/4 box spaghetti noodles

Pack of cherry tomatoes

1 whole red pepper; 1 whole green pepper sliced thinly

1 cup red onions sliced thinly

2 cups sliced baby cucumbers

1 1/2 cup hard salami sliced into thin strips (~3/4″)

Parsley and parmesan for garnishing the finished salad

Salad Preparation:
Toss the dressing contents into a blender and blend well for 1-2 minutes. I recommend making the dressing the day before so all the flavors come together overnight.

Prepare the spaghetti noodles cooking them al dente ~13 minutes. Rinse with cold water and cool, then set in fridge to chill.

When it’s time to make the salad, pull out the dressing and noodles from the fridge. Pour the dressing over chilled noodles and mix thoroughly before adding veggies except the tomatoes. Hold some veggies in reserve for arranging on top of the pasta salad, makes for a nice presentation. Arrange tomatoes and remaining veggies as a final step, along with sprinkled fresh parsley leaves and parmesan cheese.

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