This popular Rainbow Pasta Salad is a fab addition to any gathering – especially during the warm Summer months!
The best thing about this recipe? It’s so simple, we create it together as a family!
There’s nothing cooler than hearing our kids say, “We made this!”
as we carry our dish into a Summertime picnic. :)
An added bonus is getting a chance to review colors and shapes as we prepare all the veggies and pasta shapes in this healthy, vibrant salad. After choosing your favorite pasta, you’ll add your personal “rainbow” of colorful veggies. I named this recipe “Rainbow” pasta salad not only for the colorful array of veggies, but also because we love to use a large macaroni-like noodle pasta that reminds us of rainbows. Pretty cool, right?
The recipe below will serve 16 one-cup portions. You’ll find it’s such a crowd pleaser, you’ll start doubling it when you make it!
Side note: This is a great opportunity to mention healthy ways to purchase produce. Our family ardently supports the efforts of the non-profit organization, Environmental Working Group
“…the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organization. [EWG’s] mission is to serve as a watchdog to see that Americans get straight facts, unfiltered and unspun, so they can make healthier choices and enjoy a cleaner environment.”
Source: www.ewg.org (29 June 2013)
Environmental Working Group released the EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ in which they list the Dirty Dozen Plus and the Clean 15. Be sure to scroll all the way down the page to see the produce lists. We showed it to our kids, who when shopping with us now remind us which produce to buy organically. Cool shared learning opportunity!
Dirty Dozen – key foods to buy organically in order to avoid pesticide intake. Studies prove these have harmful amounts of pesticide residue, so you are best off either growing these foods yourself or purchasing them organically from known sources.
Clean 15 – foods known to be “clean”. These foods may be purchased conventionally or non-organically, since studies show they do not have unhealthy amounts of residues from pesticides.
Amy’s Rainbow Pasta Salad
1 pound shaped pasta (your choice) – make it fun! We love “rainbow” macaroni
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup orange or yellow (or both) bell pepper, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes or strawberry tomatoes (your choice)
1 cup red onion, chopped or sliced (your choice)
1 cup carrot, shredded
½ cup green olives, chopped
½ cup Greek or Kalamata olives, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese – shredded or crumbled Buffalo mozzarella (your choice)
1 1/3 cups EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
¼ cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (your choice)
1/3 cup tomato paste
sweet basil ½ tsp fresh, chopped finely or 1/4 teaspoon if dried
thyme ½ tsp fresh, chopped finely or 1/4 teaspoon if dried
oregano ½ tsp fresh, chopped finely or 1/4 teaspoon if dried
pink Himalayan sea salt & pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Lightly drizzle EVOO over and mix into pasta to prevent pasta from clinging together while cooling. Transfer cooked pasta to a bowl and chill in refrigerator while prepping and assembling other ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, prepare the dressing. Combine the ingredients in the order listed, and whisk together briskly. Set aside.
- Combine all prepared vegetables in a large serving bowl.
- Add the chilled pasta to the vegetable salad mixture, and incorporate well.
- Add the mozzarella cheese. If using shredded cheese, simply pour over the salad and stir to incorporate. If using Buffalo mozzarella cheese, crumble the cheese in your hands over the salad and stir to incorporate. You want cheese in every bite, don’t you? J
- If serving the salad within 2 hours after preparing, coat the salad with the dressing now. If preparing ahead, wait until 2 hours before serving to prepare the dressing and coat the salad.
Makes 16 one cup portions. May prepare ahead (except Step 6) and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
What is your family’s favorite recipe to share at gatherings?