6.06.2010

Easy, Mayo-Free Pasta Salad

Mayo-free pasta salad

I don't know about where you live, but here it's hot... and muggy. And sometimes it's best not to turn on the oven at all. The pasta salad I made for dinner the other night only requires turning on the stove long enough to boil some pasta and steam some broccoli. Crafting the pasta salad is as simple as chopping some veggies and cheese. And all of the ingredients get tossed together in one bowl, so cleanup is easy too.

Admittedly, this pasta salad idea came from seeing a box of Suddenly Salad, which I would normally buy to make a quick meal. This time I decided I wasn't going to cave in to the simplicity and convenience of a boxed pasta salad but rather make my own, which turned out to be very simple too. And I didn't even have to skim dehydrated vegetables off the top of the boiling pasta water, like I do with the Classic Suddenly Salad.

I made sure this pasta salad was chock-full of veggies and flavor, and I loved that it wasn't weighed down with mayo, like so many pasta salads. I'm not a big fan of mayo. I used Italian dressing this time, but I think I may even try making my own dressing next time too.

I highly recommend the grape tomatoes, but I had to add them just to my plate because a certain person I share my meals with does not like tomatoes. Can you imagine? I don't know what I'd do without tomatoes.

Mayo-free pasta salad

Easy, Mayo-Free Pasta Salad
(Makes enough for a crowd, dinner for a few nights, or dinner and a couple of lunches)
(Print this recipe)


In large bowl, toss together:

1 pound rotini, prepared according to package and then rinsed with cold water
1 5 oz. package Hormel Pepperoni Minis
1 to 2 cups broccoli florets, steamed, plunged in an ice bath, and drained
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 English cucumber, peeled (optional) and diced
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
1/2 cup Italian dressing
Handful grape tomatoes, halved (optional)


Serve.


What are your favorite things to throw in pasta salad?

16 comments:

Fresh Local and Best said...

I love how bright and refreshing this salad looks, and that it is full of a wide range of veggies. This looks like a great salad to bring to brown bag to work.

Mags said...

I had to chuckle when I read your post because it was so similar to mine... TOO HOT TO COOK... and I made a pasta salad too.

This looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

I love to make this Pasta Salad for picnics! I like to use Pepper Jack cheese instead of Monterey Jack. Also - I had no idea there was mini pepperoni! So cute! :)

SK said...

This is exactly what I need for all the hot summer days we are having here in Boston!

I think a substitution in cheese and maybe the pepperonis can easily transform this into a mediterranean pasta salad with feta and maybe olives?

Daisy said...

i certain someone I eat with doesn't like tomatoes either! the horror.

stephchows said...

oooo this is the way pasta salad should be! yum!

Boston Food Diary said...

YUM! This looks delicious! Pasta salads are perfect for hot nights-I love this one!

Megan said...

Thanks, everyone! Let me know if you try it.

SK - How about orzo instead of the rotini too?

Maria said...

Perfect for summer. So glad there is no mayo:) I always throw in tons of veggies!

GrapeSugar said...

This is pretty much exactly the recipe I've made and my Mom has made since I was small. It is the BEST in the summer! The mini pepperoni was quite a surprise, my Mom used the same thing recently! So cute! We've also cut up salami in the past, also great. This is also great to bring to a bbq.

Ingrid said...

We love pasta salad. I didn't realize it was made with mayo,too. I always made mine with oil & vinegar.

LOL, your certain someone and I have similar tastes when it comes to tomatos. :)
~ingrid

Joan said...

Cheese cubes, celery, onion, carrots is usually what I put in mine. Yours looks so colorful!

Kristen said...

I make a similar pasta salad. I also completely understand the too hot to cook problem of summer. Although we don't have any days remotely considered humid in Arizona, temperatures over 100 are all too common. I try to do my baking at night right before bed because the nights actually do cool off by 20 or more degrees. Dinner however can't be put off like that, so it's salads and barbecue often.

Cinnamon-Girl said...

These are exactly the kind of meals I like to eat during the summer! This looks fantastic! I just planted grape tomatoes in my garden. I love them. Olives and tomatoes are usually my go-to for pasta salads.

Catherine said...

How wonderful! This salad looks so delish! You had me at mayo-free! I've been on the search for a flavor filled pasta salad that doesn't have the calories of the mayo!
Thanks for sharing Megan!

Cody said...

I just made something very similar to this not too long ago. It was delicious. I used a plain olive oil & vinegar dressing and added quite a bit of garlic.

I've also made pasta salad driven by memories of Suddenly Salad, but I don't think that Veganaise and ranch dressing powder really counts as homemade. It was really just about getting the bacon out.