The arrival of Spring, and the undeniable closeness of Summer (it’s really almost here, peeps!) always re-reminds me of the humble pasta salad.
More specifically, it re-reminds me of what a perfect meal pasta salad is for the Summerlicious days to come. It may not be the prettiest girl in the park, but maaaaaaaan, does it know how to satisfy in other ways.
Pasta salad is also quick, cheap, and perfect for picnics! Just the idea of picnics sends me off to Swoonsville. And if you’re anything like me, cheap and quick = more time and money for shoe shopping! Win.
Now that I’ve sold you on the whole pasta salad plan (you’re making it to-night, right?), let’s talk details.
First of all, I should just come out and tell you guys that I am not a mayonnaise kind of girl. I’m just not. I do however prefer a creamy pasta salad. Creamy usually = mayo in this case…
So, what’s a girl to do?
Make her own dang creamy dressing. Duh!
I blended some of the roasted peppers, olives, and artichokes with a touch of olive oil, dijon, red onion, garlic, some parsley, and white wine vinegar for an awesomely “creamy” dressing without a touch of cream. I dug it… like a lot.
The rest is simple, really. Bow tie pasta, er, I mean, farfalle (cause we fancy like that), gets tossed with the dressing, some chopped kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, capers, bold red onion, bright parsley, and marinated artichoke hearts jump on the salad train and with one bite send your pasta loving soul to heaven. You’re welcome.
Now, I have a few fun instructions for you once you’re done making this! Pack it up (with some paper plates, forks, and if you’re feeling up for it, a bottle of bubbly never hurt anyone…), grab your favorite person, and hit the park for an impromptu picnic!
Come on… you know that sounds ah-mazing.
Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke, and Olive Pasta Salad – Baker by Nature
1 pound farfalle pasta, cooked al dente (you really want to make sure you don’t over cook your pasta! Soggy pasta = Sad faces… It’s a fact)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, divided
1 cup roasted red peppers (most jars about 7-8 ounces, or roast 3 large peppers yourself), divided
(1) 12 oz can marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped, divided
1/2 cup fresh italian parsley, divided
1/2 cup red onion, sliced very thin, divided
2 tablespoons capers
*Anything marked divided will be used for both the salad and the dressing.
For the dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of the parsley
2 tablespoons of the red onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup of the roasted red pepper
10 of the kalamata olives
1/4 cup of the artichoke hearts
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
Place everything in a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour over the pasta and toss well.
Bring a large, salted pot of water to boil. Once the water is boiling rapidly, add your pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes. Start checking at 6, then keep a close eye after that. Once cooked, drain and rinse quickly with cold water.
While your pasta is cooking, chop the olives, peppers, parsley, onion, and artichokes.
Make your dressing following the instructions above. Once the dressing is finished, check on your pasta; it should be almost done. Once the pasta has been cooked and drained, toss with the dressing. Then add peppers, capers, olives, onion, artichokes, and parsley and toss again. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, or eat right away.