The Other Picnic Pasta Salads
Macaroni Salad jumps into the minds of millions when someone mentions picnic pasta salads. It is possibly as much as a tradition at picnics and socials as potato salad. It is hardly surprising when you consider how tasty it is and how many different recipes are available for making it. It is also true that in a pinch, you can buy macaroni salad from the deli at your local store. However, when it is so easy to make, why not take the extra few moments and build it your way? There are many recipes and pictures available to give you an idea and some are just too appealing to pass up without trying.
Picnic pasta salads are versatile, fun to cook and offer fun shapes in pasta form. It is definitely not just elbow macaroni anymore. Farfalle are bowties and hold their shape well. They make a great pasta salad, as does the smaller version, farfalline. Ditalini (little thimbles) is a favorite in pasta salads. Rotelle (little wheels), designed more for hot pasta dishes covered with seafood, meat or vegetable sauce, are loved by kids when they appear in picnic pasta salads. The shape creates fun and diversity in the salad. Small shells hold much the same appeal.
Celery and onion are common pasta salad ingredients. Mustard and mayonnaise make traditionally great dressing. Other options include radishes, olives, grape tomatoes, thawed green peas and ranch dressing or vinaigrette. The ingredients convert this salad easily to a main dish with the addition of cheese, shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, or your favorite meat. Be creative with the servings. Venture into the splendid region of pasta salads by trying several of the recipes.
Seasonal Pasta Salad Recipes
Just because the word “salad” conjures up images of the summer does not mean pasta salads are only suitable for the warmer months. There are pasta salad recipes for all seasons, palates, and occasions. It is always good to take advantage of locally grown fresh produce, no matter what season it is. International trade might mean we can get pretty much any ingredient any day of the year, sourced from some far-flung country, but why not support local farmers and buy fresh produce? It is sure to be tastier than something picked weeks before which has been shipped halfway around the world. Try some fresh asparagus, strawberries, summer squash, garden peas, or corn in your next pasta salad recipe, to add a touch of color, freshness, and nutrition.
Perfect Pasta Salad for Any Season
In the cooler months you might crave heartier pasta salads, so make an extra-thick dressing, and use plenty of cheese, meat and perhaps some sun-dried tomatoes. In the summer you can get all kinds of fresh fruit so even if you are not used to adding fruit to pasta salads, try adding chicken and strawberries (that really is a magical combination in pasta salad) or zucchini, mozzarella and peach.
Pasta is versatile and you can add any meat, poultry, veggies, or fruit to your pasta salads. Making a macaroni salad or pasta salad is a great way to use up leftover vegetables too. Just make sure everything is finely chopped. A good, easy-to-eat pasta salad should not feature anything bigger than bite-size, so chop or dice anything which needs it before adding it to the mix.
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