Summertime Pasta Salad

It’s barbecue and grilling season, and this always means a good ‘ol get together with family, friends, or neighbors. I consider them all the same, which would be friends. When we have a get together, my default reaction is ‘what can I make’ or better yet, depending on the audience, ‘what should I make’? These are standard questions to bounce off my wife, to only get a feel for what she would want to eat at a party.

Pasta Salad Recipe

For the most part, my wife typically defaults to the standard response of pasta salad. Not sure why. I do know that she does really love my Asian pasta salad, as well as another one I make that has some pretty big flavors, and for the most part, Wisconsin written all over it. So, pasta salad it was for a small get together last week.

The great thing about most pasta salads is that you can be as creative as you want with the ingredients, including spices.


  • 1 lb rotini pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 block of Wisconsin cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 head of roasted garlic, lightly mashed
  • 1 zucchini, cleaned, and cut into cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large dices
  • 1 orange, organic tomato, pulp removed and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp creole seasoning
  • Johnsonville garlic summer sausage, cubed (optional)

Begin by cooking your pasta. This should only take about seven minutes or so. During this time, prepare the remaining ingredients.

To a large bowl, add in the ingredients, holding back on the salt and pepper. Drain the pasta, run under cold water, and drain again. Shake to remove any excess water.

Add the pasta to the large bowl, and with a large spoon, mix to combine all of the ingredients. Give a generous pinch of salt and pepper, mix, and taste. Season with additional salt or pepper if you feel necessary. Enjoy.

Curious, what is your “go to” pasta salad during grilling season?

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

3 thoughts to “Summertime Pasta Salad”

  1. Our “go to” salad usually consists of whole wheat penne with a bit of crab, some chopped red pepper, a few scallions, and a white balsamic vinaigrette. Simple, but very tasty — and the non-mayo dressing gives the salad a bit of longevity in the hot summer sun.

  2. My go to pasta salad is a very simple one of penne pasta, very thinly sliced cucumbers and onions in a tart sweet dressing. Recipe posted in Tasty Kitchen “Cool Cucumber Salad” hmmmmm

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