Orzo has a reputation as a pasta ideal for soups, but the rice-shaped noodles can also star as the base of a great pasta salad. Since orzo is small in size, it can be mixed with other salad fixings, like fresh vegetables and cheese, without overshadowing them. And although mayo-based dressings are a classic standby, swapping them for an oil-based dressing can lighten up the dish without skimping on flavor, as it does in Giada De Laurentiis’ pasta salad (pictured above).
Tag: pasta salad
If you’re headed to a cookout this weekend, don’t even think about showing up empty-handed. When choosing a dish to take, however, there are a few criteria that must be met to make transporting and serving a breeze.
Rule #1: Bring your dish in the same vessel you’ll serve it in.
Don’t take a bag of salad greens, then ask your host for a serving bowl, and don’t take a cake and ask for a stand. Pack up everything in (or take along) whatever you need to serve your dish. (Label anything you’d like back, or use disposable platters and bowls.) Bonus points if you take disposable serving utensils.
Pasta salad is a matter of immense importance in the summer months, especially for picnicking purposes. And if you’re going to toss one together and have it stand up to mouthwatering grilled mains and more, it better be good. Get our top never-fail, 5-star pasta salad picks that our fans rely on all summer long.
Tomato Feta Pasta Salad
In between mouthfuls of fusilli, you’ll spear bites of salty feta, Kalamata olives and juicy ripe tomatoes. Oh, and you’ll find no mayo here; the spiraled noodles will soak up a vinegar-spiked, sun-dried tomato-packed dressing in its place.
You know those pasta salads in which elbow macaroni are caked with gloopy mayonnaise and mixed with too-crunchy carrots and celery? This pasta salad isn’t that — at all. Food Network Magazine reworked the traditional picnic side dish into a lighter, fresher alternative, and there’s not a dollop of mayo in sight.
Pasta salad is one of those classic and incredibly versatile summer dishes — the ideal cookout accompaniment, perfectly portable for picnics and a cinch to prepare — that you find yourself craving all year long, then suddenly tiring of by the time August rolls around. But before you’re bored of bow ties and say farewell to fusilli, consider changing up the type of noodle you employ in making your salads. You’ll be amazed how swapping out twisty rotini tendrils for orecchiette’s button cups, or embracing the hollowed tubes of penne and rigatoni, can change up the texture and even flavor of your dishes.
Pasta Salad with Lemon Pesto Dressing (shown above)
Use prepared pesto to make this salad’s lemon juice-drenched dressing — a bright, unusual addition to any summer spread — which clings readily to cavatappi’s substantial ridges. Grape tomatoes, mozzarella and scallions add just enough substance to this light side dish.
On a day like Memorial Day, classic American dishes deserve special attention. And since no cookout is complete without a bevy of seasonal sides, it’s only right to show your patriotism by including a national staple: pasta salad. Celebrate the holiday weekend with any of these five summer pasta salads guaranteed to feed a crowd. Planning a picnic? No problem. These recipes are mayo-free and perfect for toting to the park.
Garden Pasta with Bocconcini (above)
When it comes to pasta salad, campanelle, Italian for “little bell,” is often overlooked. This pasta has a lovely flower-evoking shape that’s incredibly festive for a summer party or picnic. Though campanelle may look delicate, it’s just as hearty as penne and fusilli — the more-common pasta salad stars. Here, it’s tossed with substantial vegetables and bocconcini for an ample summer side.
Repeat after us: You will not buy gloopy, mayo-clad, made-yesterday pasta salad from the deli container this summer. No way. As the most-fun salad of all the salads (seriously), summer pasta salad is the one irresistible picnic side we just can’t wait to make, partly because of how crazy-easy it is to throw together. Taken cold with an array of pasta shapes, the pasta salad genre can take so many different forms, each fresh, satisfying and bound to bulk up your picnic without much effort. Toss these bold summer pasta salads at home for on-the-go eating ideal for any outdoor potluck, low-key picnic or backyard cookout you come across this summer.
Make your first pasta salad of the season extra-special by doing it up with cheesy tortellini. Rachael Ray uses the tender store-bought stuffed pasta for an extra-satisfying Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad (pictured above) that will be the star of the potluck from the very first spoonful.
Want to know what Food Network fans were cooking in July? From Basil Pesto to BLT Pasta Salad and sweet Peach Cobbler, here are the top 10 recipes of the month:
Paula’s savory pasta salad is the perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken or ribs and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes. Al dente bow-tie pasta is tossed with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, kalamata olives and green bell peppers and finished with a balsamic vinaigrette and grated Parmesan cheese.
Get the recipe: Italian Pasta Salad
Browse more of Food Network’s summer side dish recipes.