Not all pasta salads are the same! I was never a fan of pasta salad; at potlucks growing up, it was cold, dry or soggy, and had black olives in them. I gave it a few tries since I like noodles,but eventually gave up! Now, Grant really likes Pasta salad because his Aunt Sandi had this amazing recipe that no one could make as well as she did. I believed him but never thought twice about making it. If Grant’s mom, Gail, who is a great cook can’t make it right then I had NO chance! Well, one day I got up the courage to email Sandi and try to make this recipe and pray that I actually liked it. Well it turns out that this recipe is AMAZING! I love it and crave it way too often, and I don’t think I make it as well as Sandi,but Grant eats it without any complaints and get 3rds and 4th helpings so it probably good enough ;p Below are my step by step instructions.
Start with the noodles. you make about 8 oz. of the dry pasta in whatever shape you like. She recommends anything squiggly I really like the colored Garden Rotini so that is what I used.
Get some Bell Peppers.
Finely chop them.
Chop one sweet onion and add it to the bowl.
Chop one seedless cucumber and add it to the bowl.
Drain Pasta and I rinse with cold water since the whole salad will be chilled anyway.
She says to use the Turkey Pepperoni so I did.
Just grab some no real measurement, you can always add more later if you think it is lacking.
Add it to the bowl.
Add the pasta.
Add shredded cheese which is just as much as you want to add.
At this point, I like to toss everything.
Her secret is to add half fat free and half regular Italian dressing. Mix it 4 oz. of one and 4 oz. of the other and then start adding about half to the salad and toss.
Add the McCormick Seasoning, I add some, taste, add some taste, etc until you think that it is strong enough.
Keep adding more italian dressing mix until it is the the way you like it. It is best if it has sat in the fridge overnight, and the next day it will need some more of the dressing mix before serving. We went camping this year, and I wanted to make as many of the meals before hand so I didn’t have to pack as much. I made a ton of this and it worked as a great side with every meal that we ate so it was wonderful. We also deciding to go camping when it was SO hot outside that the cool food was very refreshing!
Aunt Sandi’s Pasta Salad
8 oz dry pasta, prepared according to package directions, cook, drain and rinse with cold water, drain well – put in very large bowl or dishpan
Add & toss well:
1 pepper (green, red, orange or yellow or combination) chopped
1 sweet onion – chopped
1 seedless cucumber – diced
1 large tomatoe – diced (romas work really well – less soggy)
Pepperoni slices – diced (I use the Hormel Turkey Pepperoni)
Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese to taste
Add dressing: Here’s the secret sauce!!! LOL!!! I buy Italian Dressings at Aldi’s or Save-A-Lot or store brands-CHEAP ONES!
4 oz any brand Regular Italian Dressing & 4 oz any brand Fat-Free Italian Dressing – I don’t pour the entire 8 oz on all at once, I stir it all up and see how it looks. Too dry? Add more dressings. Too wet? Oh well, maybe boil some more pasta – LOL, sorry about your luck. Just kidding….. Just go with about 3/4 of the dressings first then you can always add more if it needs it. It will soak up some of the dressing as it sits in the fridge too. I flip my bowl around to distribute the dressing that settles in the bottom of the bowl before I serve it too. (Man, all these secrets!)
1/4-1/2 jar of “Salad Seasonings” by, McCormick – it is orangy/red in color with sesame & poppy seeds. It’s near the pepper, salt, seasonings in the grocery store.
Mix these together well in a smaller bowl and then DUMP them on the pasta/veggie mixture and mix well; chill. Then enjoy!