Friday, October 16, 2015

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

I am going to let you in on a secret. This is the most requested salad that I make. Hands down it is something my hubby requests the most. They make something similar at the local grocery store that they ask a ton of money for. My mom turned me onto making it myself and we have it all the time now. This salad is awesome because you can add really any veggies you want to it and it turns out fantastic.

Here is what you need:
2 boxes of pasta salad mix- I use an off brand but a good example is simply salad.
4 stalks of celery
1 cup of carrots (about 2 carrots)
1 cup of sweet peppers (about 4 peppers)
1 cup of tomatoes 
4 string cheese pieces
1/4 cup zesty Italian dressing

Optional toppings:
 Black olives, onion, avocado, broccoli or even cauliflower
The options are only as endless as your imagination. In this recipe I omitted the onion because I was making this with my nieces and nephew in mind. I usually always include it.

Start by boiling your two noodle packets. Follow the directions on the pasta salad box otherwise. I usually just cook them till they are done by tasting one or two pieces as they cook. Rinse the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking process. I usually throw them in my giant colander and run cold water over the noodles for a bit.

Time to cut up those peppers, celery, carrots, tomatoes and cheese!
Make sure everything is cut up into bite size pieces.Then add in the pasta to this mix in the

We now want to make the salad dressing box dressing. Weew, that seems like a mouth full. There should be two dressing packets. In general they usually call for 3 tablespoons of cold water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil/vegetable oil each. Since you have two packets you want to double that. After mixing it should be a pretty green color. Mix that into your pasta  mix that is already in the bowl. Now here is my top secret trick.......

Zesty Italian dressing. You can buy any brand you wish but mix some in. Maybe about 1/4 a cup. Then right before serving add a little more to loosen up the pasta. It can sometimes dry out and adding a little here or there really helps stop the pasta from getting gummy.

Here is the final product. Is it not the most tasty looking thing? I made this for dinner last night for my family. They seemed to rather enjoy it. Even the little kids. I mean who does not love chunks of cheese in their salad?

I hope you love this salad as much as everyone I know does. I will be eating a huge helping for lunch today that is for sure.

XoXo Emily

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