Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yummm! Scrumptious Pasta Salads for Summer!!

For me, summer weeknights are made for a good pasta salad. When it's way too hot to cook, making a tasty pasta salad is one of my favorite options. Plus, the salad is sure to keep a few days, which can save you money by brown bagging it to work.

One can opt for my tried-and-true tuna and pasta salad... but why does it have to be blah to be easy? I've scoured the internet for a few great pasta salad recipes with a bit of "Oomph!" to them... Enjoy!!!

Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp
Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light


3 cups uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped capers


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. Combine juice, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until done. Stir in spinach, cannellini beans, red onion, and 2 tablespoons capers; toss to combine. Add the pasta and juice mixture to shrimp mixture; toss.


Toss warm pasta with the tangy dressing so it will absorb more flavor. If you prefer to serve this salad chilled, make it up to a day ahead, toss, and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

Beef and Pasta Salad

Recipe Courtesy of Taste of Home


3 cups spiral pasta, cooked and drained
1 medium green pepper, julienned
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
1 pound beef top sirloin steak, cut into strips
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 bottle (8 ounces) Italian salad dressing
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded provolone or part-skim mozzarella cheese


In a large bowl, combine the pasta, green pepper, tomatoes and olives. In a large skillet, stir-fry sirloin in oil until cooked as desired; drain.
If serving salad hot, add dressing to skillet and bring to a boil. Pour over pasta mixture; toss to coat. Add cheese; serve immediately.
If serving salad cold, let beef cool for 15 minutes. Add the beef, dressing and cheese to pasta mixture; toss to coat. Chill for at least 1 hour. Yield: 6 servings.

Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken
Recipe Courtesy of The Parsley Thief


1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup {packed} fresh basil leaves
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cups + 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast
salt & pepper, to taste
1 pound Campanelle pasta
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ounces baby arugula


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta, according to the package instructions, until 1 minute less than al dente. Drain & rinse under cold water.
Meanwhile, combine the pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil & lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the 2/3 cups olive oil & process until incorporated.

Rinse & trim the chicken breast. Then slice them down the middle, so that you have 4 thin pieces of chicken. Drizzle them with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil & season generously with salt & freshly ground pepper. Grill for about 3-5 minutes per side {depending on how thin they are}, or until they are cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board & cut into thin slices.

Combine the pasta, tomatoes, arugula & sliced chicken in a large bowl. Add a bit of the dressing at a time & toss, until the salad is well coated with the pesto. You may not need all of it {If making ahead of time, or you end up with some leftovers, save the dressing to re-hydrate the salad later on}.

Check the salad for seasoning & serve.


  1. Yummy! I love the idea of adding nuts and beans to a pasta salad. Giving me great ideas!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I looove pasta - those look so good too - now I have to go off with those images in my mind and eat my dry old sandwich I bought for lunch. Thanks for sharing :o)

  3. @ C.O. - Please know that my full name is Miss "Pesto Salad" Moon.. LOL

    @ Laquita - Awww... I am sure that your sandwich will be moist and delicious! :)

    I am so glad you both liked the recipes!!