Summer’s Most Adaptable Dish Is Pasta Salad

Created May 21, 2018
When the weather warms up, count on pasta salad — that do-it-all, easy-to-throw-together summer staple — to keep you cool as a cucumber. It’s a delicious main dish, it’s super-fast side, it’s a crowd-pleasing potluck dish, it’s a clean-out-the-fridge meal—and it’s one of the most intuitive dishes you can make. That’s why so many of our summer meals start with the simple act of putting on a pot of water to boil. You don’t necessarily need to know which odds and ends are lingering in the veggie drawer or whether there’s any leftover chicken to know that pasta salad will fit the bill on any given night. But as long as you’re here, why not get ahead of the game by pinning, printing or saving a few of Betty’s best pasta salad recipes? A recipe saved now makes for a quicker dinner later, which means you can spend more time on the patio and less time in the kitchen! MORE+ LESS-

The basic formula for making pasta salad is simple, so memorize these tips and yours will always be tops:

  • Short pastas work best in pasta salad. Try penne, rotini, shells, wagon wheels or whatever else you keep on hand.
  • 6-7 ounces of uncooked pasta will yield 4 cups of cooked pasta and serve 4-6 people.
  • Always follow package directions to cook pasta al dente, which means tender but firm to the bite.
  • Unless specified, do no rinse pasta after draining or sauces won’t cling. Sometimes pasta is rinsed for cold salads, so follow your recipe.
  • Chilling in the fridge makes your pasta salad even better as it allows the flavors to develop. Follow the chill time specified in your recipe.
  • To give your pasta salad an extra bright zing, add a sprinkle of chopped, fresh herbs before serving.

Many more pasta salad recipes await you!