This pasta salad with balsamic vinaigrette is a staple around here. No matter how much I make, it never lasts long around here.
The balsamic vinaigrette is similar to the marinade I used in my grilled chicken recipe. It’s a fave around here and makes a fantastic dressing, marinade or dip!
Why make pasta salad with balsamic vinaigrette?
- It’s a fantastic main dish, side dish or easy lunch.
- It’s a great opportunity to clean out your fridge and add whatever veggies, herbs or cheeses you have.
To roast or not to roast
Personally, I love roasting or grilling veggies before adding them to salads and salsas. I think it gives the dish more depth. Below I used garlic cloves, tomatillo, mini sweet peppers and a vidalia onion.
Throw your veggies on a sheet try and sprinkle some olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and cook on 400 for approximately 10 minutes (until veggies are soft and browned).
Double dose of basil
I added the basil in two ways: whole in the food processor for the vinaigrette and also chopped some to throw into the pasta with the veggies.
Noodles for pasta salad
In this recipe, I used whole wheat noodles. Both white or wheat noodles work well. I’ve tried brown rice noodles but can’t say that I’ve had success. They start out great but after some refrigeration they really break down.
With pasta salad, the longer it sits in the marinade, the better so all of the flavors have lots of time to, well, marinate.
Always, always, always keep in mind that you want to constantly taste to ensure seasoning is exactly how you want it. Recipes are simply guidelines but ingredients can vary depending on age, brand, etc.
If you taste it and there’s too much of a pucker, add some sweetness using a touch of honey or sugar.
Salt throughout the process
The purpose of salt is to bring out and accent the flavor of food. It’s not necessarily the flavor of salt you want to taste in a recipe but the natural flavors of all ingredients.
Because of this, it’s always good to salt at the beginning of the cooking process and throughout making a dish, not just at the end. That way, you’re bringing out each ingredients natural flavors throughout the process and you can season perfectly.
If you only salt at the end, you’ll only be focused on the salt flavor rather than the flavor of the food itself. Also, if you add salt and the end, then continue to add, you’ll start to numb your taste buds.
Perfecting seasoning with salt will take your dishes to the next level!Print
This pasta salad with balsamic vinaigrette is the perfect compliment to any dish! It’s so easy to make and you can get creative with the ingredients you add!
- 1 lb. whole wheat noodles (white can be used)
- 2 sweet peppers (or 7 or 8 mini sweet peppers)
- 1 sweet onion
- 4–5 cloves of garlic
- 1 pint cherry tomatos
- parmesan cheese (optional)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1 pack of good seasons Italian dressing
- 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1/4–1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup of water
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Cook noodles according to package. Put aside.
- Chop peppers, onion and garlic and put on a sheet tray. Roast in the oven for approx. 10 minutes, until veggies are soft.
- To make vinaigrette, add vinegar, lemon, good seasons pack, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil, basil, red pepper flakes and water to blender or food processor. Blend until mixed.
- Run cold water over noodles. Add to a large bowl. Add veggies and tomatoes. Add vinaigrette and combine. Test and add more sea salt accordingly.
- Top with basil and parmesan cheese.
- Use any veggies you have in the fridge! You can roast or keep raw.
- Fresh mozzarella and turkey pepperoni are great additions.
Keywords: pasta salad, pasta salad balsamic vinaigrette, pasta salad vinaigrette