Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pizza Pasta Salad {Summer Salad Recipe}

Summer is my favorite season when it comes to salads! It can be a dinner salad with grilled meat, a layered salad or a simple pasta salad. Salads are very versatile, convenient and the perfect choice for picnics, potlucks, cookouts, or a side to most any meal. 

I usually have a variety of items to choose from in our vegetable garden, but our tomatoes haven't quite came in yet. Texas received some pretty cold temperatures late in the year, so  our garden is off to a late start. 

Since I can't enjoy home grown tomatoes just yet Walmart currently has a large variety of tomatoes in their produce section.  Tomatoes are a fresh produce priority for the month of June, so  Walmart asked me to share my creativity with a tomato recipe. Grilling season is in full swing, so I chose to make a summer pasta salad.

Everyone loves pepperonis, so my salad of choice was a simple Pizza Pasta Salad. Most folks are used to mayonnaise based pasta salads, but I prefer my pasta salads to have more of a oil based dressing. I used a Zesty Italian dressing which gave this pasta salad a nice pop of flavor, and all the vegetables I used were so colorful and perfect for summer!!!!

I chose NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes (priced at $2.98) to use in my pizza pasta salad, but the yellow and red cherry tomatoes will work just as well. Did you know that tomatoes are actually a fruit and not a vegetable? It has taken me a while to get used to that fact, because I immediately assume tomatoes are a vegetable.   

I love to cook with tomatoes, but also I like to enjoy them as a snack, especially the cherry and grape tomatoes. In addition to tomatoes I added pepperonis, black olives, artichoke hearts, sweet mini peppers, string cheese, Parmesan cheese, pasta, a few seasoning and Kraft's Zesty Italian dressing, but you can use any Italian dressing of your choosing. 

There isn't much work involved in making this recipe, basically you just chop up the ingredients, add to a bowl and toss everything together. This is pretty much a one bowl recipe besides cooking the pasta. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Pizza Pasta Salad

1 - 8 ounce package spiral garden pasta, cooked al dente
1 - 10.5 oz container red cherubs tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
1 - 2.25 oz can sliced black olives, drained
1 - 8 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
7 - 8 string cheese, sliced
1/2 - cup sliced pepperonis, mini pepperonis, Genoa salami or turkey pepperonis
2/3 - cup green, yellow or orange bell peppers, roughly chopped
1/4 - cup red onion, chopped, optional 
1/2 - cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 - 8 oz bottle prepared Italian dressing (use your favorite brand or homemade)
Italian seasoning, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

In a large pot of salted water cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. When pasta is cooked drain; rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.

In a large bowl combine the cherry tomatoes, black olives, artichoke hearts, sliced string cheese, pepperonis, chopped peppers, red onion (if using), and grated Parmesan cheese. 

Add the cooled pasta and mix well. Add the seasoning and Italian dressing; toss to mix. Chill at least one hour before serving.  Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese for garnish.

Servings: 7 - 8

How to quickly cut cherry tomatoes in half: All you have to do is put a handful of tomatoes on one small plate, put another small plate on top of the tomatoes. Using your hand press down on the top plate, slide your knife between the middle opening between the two plates. This cuts all your tomatoes in half at once saving you a bit of time.

Meet Scott Rush one of Walmart's Tomato Growers!!! Locally grown produce is important to Walmart and their customers.

Need more recipe ideas? Check out the Recipe Index by Mommy’s Kitchen. 


Colleen said... #

This looks Absolutely Wonderful. I love a good pasta salad on these hot summer Texas days.
Think I will use the mini pepperoni just to have some in every bite. :} Maybe some slivered carrots, diced cucumber, etc. Salad really makes for a wonderful veggie salad of sorts.
I have mostly everything on hand already.....except for the artichoke hearts.....of which is something that I never buy.
Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Unknown said... #

Love! So yummy!