Pasta Salad – Perfect to Make Ahead or Pack Up


This is my favorite pasta salad. I like to make a whole meal of it by adding grilled chicken. (Somehow the chicken never made it into the photos.) It also holds up well in a packed lunch. You’ll be the envy of others eating a fast food meal or lunch meat sandwich as you feast on this.

This is one dish that turns out a bit different every time I make it, because I use what I have available or what sounds good at the moment. As always, feel free to substitute ingredients to your own tastes and pantry items.

For the salad:

bowtie pasta – This was only a 12 oz box. I prefer 16 oz box, just because I end up with more.
red pepper
grape or cherry tomatoes

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Chop the veggies. Add the chopped broccoli to the pasta water about 2 minutes before the pasta finishes cooking. This is enough time to make the brocoli a bit more tender, but still crisp. Drain the pasta and broccoli and run it under cool water to stop the cooking process. Put it in a big bowl with the other veggies.

For the dressing:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white or red wine vinegar (I used white this time)
2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
black pepper
fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, chives, tarragon etc. or use dried like I did this time

This dressing recipe comes from the New Recipes from Mooswood Restaurant cookbook. Just whisk all the ingredients together, or put them in a container with a tight fitting lid and give it a good shake.

I really like using fresh basil in this, but I didn’t want to pay for it in the grocery.

Stir the dressing into the salad. I added some mozzerella cheese to this that didn’t make it into the ingredients photo. I also like adding shredded parmesan and after cooking with gorgonzola the other day, I think that would taste great in this pasta salad too.

For the grilled chicken, just season it with salt and pepper and grill. Slice or chop it into the salad.

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  1. That looks so awesomely delish! Thanks 🙂

  2. This looks scrumptious! I love me a colorful pasta salad!

  3. DiPaola Momma says:

    This is GREAT! You could even mix it up a bit and go Greek with Feta replacing the parm and adding in some cucumbers and olives (I heart calamatas but they are pricy).

  4. It's Always Something Around Here says:

    Oh this looks so yummy!!!!

  5. Mommy's Kitchen says:

    Very pretty I love pasta salad. I cant wait to try this recipe.

  6. Michelle says:

    Looks yummy…and super easy to boot! Thanks for sharing.

    Now for that devilish looking pudding cake that I just saw….holy buckets!

  7. The Blonde Duck says:

    I’m going to print this out and try it. It looks really good!

  8. Katherine Aucoin says:

    This is a perfect warm weather salad! I’m bookmarking this for MEmorial Day! The color are so vibrant!

  9. Tiffany says:

    DiPaola Momma – Greek style sounds really great! I will have to try that!

  10. Ryan Ashley Scott says:

    I love pasta salad. This looks delicious. Really, I should stop coming here so late at night. 🙂

  11. The Cookie Girl says:

    OMGosh! I am already starving and can’t believe I had to read this post before bed. 🙂
    I am going to try this one this week.

  12. Kelly Deneen says:

    That looks delicious! The dressing sounds fabulous as well. I will have ot try this one!

  13. hey thanks for stopping by my blog. I am so sorry to hear about you loss.

  14. Melissa says:

    Yum! This one looks good. I will have to try it. My little boy loves pasta!

  15. Yum-this looks delicious! I am so excited for salad weather.

  16. I love pasta! I can’t wait to try this.

  17. Susie Lacy says:

    I made this recipe today substituting Balsalmic vinegar for the red wine. I omitted the vegetable oil and used only 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil instead. I grated parmesan cheese on top. It was heavenly! Got great reviews from my husband too, so I’ll definitely be making this one again. Thank you for sharing.

  18. I have been searching for a pasta salad that had a “decent dressing” and this was absolutely superb. My older son asked was this another one of Mrs. King’s recipes and I told him yes. This is the perfect pasta salad recipe. I have never been fond of buying already made pasta salad at the deli; the frugal side of me kicks in every time. Now I will no longer be tempted, I can make it at home and it is yummy! Thank you for this one.

  19. We made this… it is delish! Will def be a summer favorite.

  20. Yum! It looks so delicious!

  21. This looks great! Thanks!


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  2. […] Pasta Salad – This is one of my go-to meals. I serve it with grilled chicken. And last night we had it with Feta cheese. Scrumptious. […]

  3. […] Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken […]

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