For a light yet satisfying dish, pasta salads are always in season! They are perfect plates from prep to presentation that never displease.
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Let’s get into the ins and outs of preparing pasta salad without further ado!
What is a Pasta Salad?
When making a pasta salad, consider these four essential components:
Base: Start your salad with a solid fountain: our Fresh Pasta serves as a great base! While pasta is the obvious answer for a base, let’s not forget that our Fresh Potato Gnocchi can be swapped in! Curious about gnocchi? Check out: What is gnocchi made of.
Mix-ins: The beauty of a pasta salad is that it can be tailored to taste any dietary preference. In fact, why not get the kids involved? Once you finish cooking your base, call the kids into the kitchen to pick ingredients, whisk the dressing, and stir up the salad!
Dressing: Pasta salads make for a refreshing summer lunch or an ideal side dish because it’s often coated with a zesty vinaigrette or a thinned down mayonnaise rather than a thick sauce. Homemade vinaigrettes can be made in a matter of minutes! We suggest using a ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part emulsifier (such as vinegar or citrus),
Toppings: The final touches take a dish to the next level. Toppings like grated Parmesan, freshly torn herbs, or chopped nuts add texture, colour, and complexity to a word. Get a picture-perfect plate that will get likes from the whole family.
Now that we have the basic blueprint for success, let’s dive deeper into recipe inspiration.
Best Pasta for Pasta Salads
When selecting a pasta variety for your salad, opt for short shapes — like our 3 Formaggi Tortellini Prosciutto with Aged Parmesan Reggiano Tortelloni. The folds will cling onto the dressing, herbs, and small mix-ins. Plus, these stuffed pasta pack plenty of punch on their own! Along the same lines, Olivieri® Gnocchi has ridges which hold tight to every bit of flavour!
Pasta Salad Ingredients
Like most dishes, the trick to perfecting pasta salad is getting that perfect balance of flavours and adding a variety of textures. This easy-to-customize dish can be made by mixing and matching your favourite ingredients:
Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, baby corn, cucumber, olives, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced green onions
Proteins: meats, poultry, seafood, or plant-based proteins
Legumes: beans, chickpeas
Cheese: shredded Parmesan, crumbled feta, fresh mozzarella
Alternatively, you can stick to tried and true combinations:
Classic: With cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers, and black olives, this Confetti Pasta Salad is perfect for a party! Plus, Olivieri® 3 Formaggi Rainbow Tortellini is not just packed with a blend of Ricotta, Romano and Parmesan; it’s enriched with spinach and tomatoes; so sneaking in some extra veggies into your family’s mealtime routine is a cinch!
Greek: Take your family on a taste vacation by capturing the flavours of the Isles! This Greek Salad Tortellini is loaded with fresh and tangy ingredients!
A New Take on Potato Salad
Can’t decide between pasta salad or potato salad? Why not combine two classic cookout staples? A gnocchi salad gives you the best of both worlds! Coat our pillowy Potato Gnocchi with a tangy homemade vinaigrette or a zesty Olivieri® Basil and Cheese Pesto sauce for a refreshing picnic side!
Greener Pasta Salads
Regardless of the ratio you toss together, greens and gnocchi go well together!
Green: Add a handful of arugula to your favourite Gnocchi Pasta Salad to get peppery notes and a splash of colour!
Greener: Can’t decide between a light salad or a hearty pasta? Toss together a 50/50 mix for this balanced dish: Skillet Gnocchi Salad With Walnuts features baby arugula, fresh vegetables, and juicy ham for a savoury yet refreshing meal.
Greenest: Get the crunch you’re craving on a salad by sprinkling on a satisfying topping! Instead of croutons, opt for crispy gnocchi! This zesty Lemon Maple Skillet Gnocchi Salad takes a green salad to the next level. The Olivieri® Cauliflower and French Emmental Cheese Skillet Gnocchi serves as a tasty topping and sneaks some protein and another vegetable into your meal.
Whether you’re preparing a weeknight dinner or a holiday feast, you can count on Olivieri® to help you create unforgettable dishes that the whole family will love!