Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Italian Pasta Salad

I'm often frustrated about blogging in the summer. I compile brilliant posts while weeding the garden or sitting by the creek, but few words find their way out of my brain. Life is full and busy, and I struggle to write about it in a way that feels profitable. I don't want to just add to the noise on social media, plus I'm facing the deadline for several projects, which sucks my desire to show up here. 

But I'm finding that I miss writing about food. Summer food is so much fun. This blog started by sharing my favorite recipes, but I've lost that aspect the last few years. When Ed was on a very strict diet, I didn't have the energy to be creative about any other food. But probably the biggest deterrent is the photos of mouth-watering food that I see online and in cookbooks. I love beautiful photos of food, but I'm not a photographer. 

What I really like to do is share food with people. I enjoy people around the table. Since I can't have you all over, the next best thing is to share a favorite recipe. 

So, the next few weeks, I'm planning to share what we are eating. If I snapped a photo on my phone, I'll share it, but don't expect anything spectacular. I promise that a good photo isn't needed for it to taste good.

This recipe for Italian Pasta Salad came from my sister's work at a deli and made a huge amount. This spring I've made some large batches for several events, but I managed to cut it down to a bit more manageable size, though it still serves a crowd.

This recipe is endlessly adaptable. Don't like olives? Skip them. Enjoy broccoli? Double the amount. Don't have any tomatoes? It will still be delicious. 

This salad is perfect combined with grilled chicken, but I've been known to eat a meal entirely of this salad.

Italian Pasta Salad

1 box (1 lb) dry spiral pasta
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup shredded carrot
1 small can (2.25) sliced olives (drained)
1 cup chopped pepperoni
1 cup diced provolone cheese
1 cup diced red pepper
1 bottle of zesty Italian dressing

Cook pasta until barely tender. Drain and cool. Add all ingredients to pasta. Toss. Best flavor if allowed to sit for a few hours before serving.

If you don't want to buy dressing, here is my favorite homemade Italian dressing which works great for this recipe.

Italian Dressing

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp honey or sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp paprika

Blend together with whisk, blender, or food processor.

Here is some other favorite summer recipes that we've been enjoying this month.

Easy Method for Freshly-Squeezed Lemonade


  1. Wow, does this look and sound delicious! I want to make it!

  2. I like your blog...and your photo turned out great. You have a sweet family.

  3. Since I had the privilege of enjoying some of this salad, I already know I love it! And I normally do not go for pasta salads! Feels good to have sone veggies to offset the many carbs.

  4. goodmorning Gina, I'm a longtime reader :)
    can I add my Italian drop to your recipe?
    For the seasoning use just olive oil (EVO is the best choice) and basil leaves, some of them chopped. Yes it sound simple and it is, but in this way the flavour of tomatoes, olives and the rest will blend together giving a really nice taste.
    PS: in Italy we do not use broccoli for summer salads because it is a winter vegetable :)
    Enjoy your pasta, whatever you like it, foods nourish both body and soul and if it makes people happy then the recipe is perfect :)
    A big virtual hug, I wish you a lot of good things in life and happyness.

  5. That looks yum, Gina. I will give it a try. Thank you.

  6. Looks delicious......my hubby suggested green peas instead of broccoli. I will give it a try :) We did up sweet corn this morning....now that job is done for another year :)


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