This pasta salad is so easy and versatile, it’s no wonder it is our go-to recipe whenever we want a light side dish. Tri-color pasta salad has a nice, bright look from both the pasta and the peppers, and the balsamic vinaigrette gives it tons of flavor without the heaviness of a creamy dressing. Usually tomatoes are a part of a pasta salad, but we’ve chosen to leave them behind here, allowing the peppers to be the stars of the show. A cool pasta salad is perfect to bring to a potluck or barbecue, or to have for lunch by the pool on a hot summer day. Our colorful salad is even a hit with kids, so there’s something on hand the whole family will enjoy.
Pasta salads are really versatile. Even the pasta can change! We use whatever we have on hand, because a pasta salad doesn’t have to be the same every time. Sometimes we even mix our own vinaigrette or pick up something from the grocery store. Adding pine nuts, green olives, shallots or green onions…there are so many ways to make this conventional salad unconventional. We just know that it disappears quickly, and is even better leftover for lunch the next day.
Tri Color Pasta Salad
15 minutes active; 2 hours inactive to prepare serves 6-8
- 12 ounces boxed tri-color rotini pasta
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces black olives, chopped
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and run cooked pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process. Place in a large bowl.
- Add bell peppers, olives, red onions, and Parmesan cheese. Toss until well combined.
- Mix in balsamic vinaigrette until pasta mixture is well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. If pasta seems too dry, stir in a little more vinaigrette to coat.
Recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Café