Marie's Pasta Salad Recipe
So I have a weird confession to make: Although I'm not a picky eater by ANY means, I've always hated pasta salad. Early on, the pasta salads I'd been exposed to were gross - way too sweet, or salty, or the pasta was too firm, or the sauce was too bland. Up until very recently, I've completely avoided pasta salad since I was probably about 12 years old or so.
Recently our friend Trevor (Who you may know as "Mr J" - and if you don't, you probably should!) brought a tub of deli macaroni salad to one of our potluck parties. My first - completely internal, as I was NOT raised by wolves! - instinct was "blech.. macaroni salad!" (Sorry, Trevor!)... until I noticed that it had cubed cheese in it. I'd never seen that before. Curiosity piqued, I tried a bite.. and it was actually pretty good!
Flash forward a few weeks, to earlier this week. My "stress cooking" reflex was triggered, and I was right in the mood for more of that pasta salad. I decided to make pasta salad for the first time in my life... loosely based on that deli one, but tweaked to be a bit more to my tastes.
First off, I ditched the macaroni for Rotini, simply because it's more fun to eat it. I couldn't remember what all was in the salad, so I went with celery for crunch, red pepper for colour, and green onion because I love it.
I based the dressing off of my awesome coleslaw, making sure to not let it get too sweet. Oh, it was GOOD. We went through the whole batch embarrassingly quickly.
A few notes:
1. For the best pasta salad, you want the pasta to actually cook to soft, not just al dente - this allows the pasta to better absorb the flavours from the dressing.
2. Aside from the pasta, this recipe is gluten free. To make a gluten free pasta salad, I recommend using brown rice pasta, and carefully watching it as it cooks - don't let it get to the point of falling apart!
3. My husband thinks it would be even better with peas added to it. I think that triggers my "macaroni salad is gross" instinct, but who knows... I'm not exactly a connoisseur of pasta salad! If it sounds good to you, go for it!
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