July 10, 2012

Summer's Cookout Pasta Salad

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Light up the grill, throw some beers on ice and get ready to unwind... we're in full barbecue mode. 
Everywhere I go lately there is a grill going and potluck dips and dishes are hitting the tables. The is something about the humid heat in July that makes kitchen cooking seem unbearable which is why this time of year is prime for grilling and the Fourth of July kicks that off just right.
Last weekend seemed like barbecue after barbecue, everywhere you went there was great food but everything was mainly cooked on the grill, or pre-cooked and chilled to serve. Being that the 4th was on a Wednesday this year kind of threw everyone for a loop. There was still burgers, beers and fireworks but it was followed by heading back to the office the next day which was a drag. Luckily this made the rest of the week fly and here came the weekend again fully prepared for a round two cook out. 

I have a few signature dishes that I bring to potluck dinners or cookouts simply because they are easy to make in bulk, simple ingredients and everyone seems to love them. 
One of my all time favorites is the kitchen-sink pasta salad that you can throw together for any occasion be it summer or winter. The trick to tailoring your pasta salad to the right flavors of the season is to see whats fresh and what colors meld with the weather. 

This is dubbed my "Cookout Pasta Salad" because that is the best time to serve this chilled pasta salad to a crowd to pair perfectly with their grilled sausage and watermelon.
Here I decided to go light. I choose a lot of my ingredients based on their taste when cold. If the ingredient can stand on it's own cold then it would be perfect for this salad. I threw in a lot of olives, artichokes, garlic powder and some fabulous sun-dried tomatoes. The combination with my light dressing, toppings, added garlic flair all blended together with this beautifully bright pasta... this dish was screaming for seconds.
Summer's Cookout Pasta Salad 
Servings: 8-10 people

1 pkg of pasta (I used tricolor cloche ortolan tarall'oro)
1 small onion, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 can(s) black olives, chopped or sliced
2 (8oz) jars marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1 (4oz) bag sun-dried cherry tomatoes
1 tsp garlic powder
5 tbsp Vegenaise (I use the soy-free)
1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp salt

Cook your pasta according to package directions.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse it with cold water, and put it back into the pan you cooked it in or a large bowl. 

Dump the the next 5 ingredients on top of the pasta and mix. In a side bowl, mix together the garlic powder, Vegenaise (or mayo) mustard, lemon juice and vinegar. Taste test it, seasoning with salt and pepper, and adjust other ingredients like Vegenaise if need be.

Once it is at a good combination of flavors, blend the dressing and the pasta together until fully coated, tossing gently. Put salad in the refrigerator for at least a half hour or more. Serve chilled.

Oh summer... I just love your sun tanned toes and sundresses. So excited for more party dishes coming up this weekend.



Grubarazzi said...

Yum. My hubs would love this. I actually made fresh mayo last night... which just makes me realize how gosh darn fattening it is. LOL. Veganaise it is!

Autumn@GoodEatsGirl said...

I love a great pasta salad! Delish!

Elvira said...

This looks delicious!!!

Kristina said...

yum!! I'm obsessed with your pasta salad! And I love that you use vegenaise, that means I get to eat it :) Seriously looks delicious!

Maureen said...

This salad would please me immensely. It looks delicious!

KristaM said...

Just wanted to share the love from Eat Yourself Skinny's sponsor spotlight today :) Love your blog and I've grown tired of my pasta salad recipe, so I'll have to give this a try!


CulinaryCache said...

This pasta recipe sounds delicious - I love the type of pasta you used and the artichokes make this one a definite winner in my book. Great recipe.

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Shannon said...

I am definitely going to try this tonight! I'm always looking for healthy pasta dishes & this looks amazing. Awesome post, awesome blog.