Recipes / Salads / Sides / Snacks

My Favorite Pasta Salad


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This season transition is strange for me.  I feel like I'm straddling summer and fall and I'm unsure of who I really want to go/stay.  Last year (omg, I've had a blog long enough to reference posts from last year…whattt?!) I couldn't wait for fall.  This year it feels like summer didn't even happen and I'm gripping onto the warm weather and lack of rain like it's the only thing keeping me alive.

And yet…. two days ago I rejoiced in the return of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice lattes, I had french onion soup in a bread bowl for dinner last night, and I've been wearing scarfs all week.  Am I crazy?  Don't answer that.

Wait you guys are here to talk about food right?  HA.  Okay FINE. 

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I made this pasta salad two weeks ago for my friend Jayme's birthday party.  I adapted it from Jenn's (who just had an ADORABLE baby by the way) version of confetti pasta salad (which I'm positive is AHMAZING, but I didn't have all the right stuff so I improvised).  It represents all things that are good about summer to me.  And I ate it for days.

The way I see it, we still have 19 days to completely imerse ourselves in summer until we've summer-ed ourselves out and can't wait for the return of boots and jackets and chilly weather.  So here's what I need you to do: make and eat this pasta salad.

Bask in the fresh summer veggies.

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Fall as in love with this homemade dressing as I am.

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Grab a bowl.  Grab a fork.  And stuff your face with this carb-crack that I'm presenting you with.

Pasta Salad-9  Are you ready team?  Okay… Break!    Pasta Salad-10


Zesty Pasta Salad

  • Author: Ashley Renee
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 30 minutes


For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic power
  • 1/2 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon after mincing)
  • cracked black pepper to taste

For the salad

  • 1 (12 oz) box of tri-colored rotini pasta
  • 2 cups of elbow macaroni pasta
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lemon


  1. Whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing together. Allow the mixture to sit and the flavors infuse.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (4-6 quarts) then add in pasta. Cook for 7-8 minutes for al dente pasta. Drain the pasta in a colander and return to the pot with a tablespoon of the dressing to keep the noodles from sticking together. If you plan on rinsing the noodles with cold water to halt the cooking process allow the noodles to cook to your ideal tenderness. (al dente noodles will continue to cook if they remain hot, which is why you want them to be less tender)
  3. While the pasta is cooking rinse and chop your veggies. Slice the bell peppers and chop them into inch long strips. Slice the zucchini and the cucumber into rounds, then cut one veggie into half moons and the other into quarters to differentiate.
  4. Combine the vegetables with the pasta and salad dressing. Add the zest and juice of the lemon to the salad. Thinly slice the mint leaves with kitchen shears and add on top of the salad. Mix to combine and evenly coat.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until serving.


  • You may want to make a second batch of the dressing if the salad is being served after the first day, the noodles will soak up most of the dressing overnight!


  • Serving Size: 12
  • Calories: 201
  • Sugar: 2
  • Sodium: 59
  • Fat: 5
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 33
  • Protein: 6
  • Cholesterol: 0

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It's still summer people.  I need a fork.  Someone get me a fork.  STAT PEOPLE.