Gluten Free Italian Pasta Salad
Coming up with new recipes all the time can be exhausting. Just because you want a break from the hassle, however, doesn’t mean you want to settle for the same boring meals day in and day out. If you’re looking for a simple but customizable meal or side dish, Italian pasta salad is the way to go.
Pasta salad is quick and easy to prepare but it is never boring. By changing up the ingredients you throw in and the dressing you use, you can create an endless array of options.
Followers of the gluten free diet will be glad to know that this wheat-laden dish is also easy to make gluten free. All you have to do is cook up a box of your favorite Schär Gluten Free pasta and toss in your choice of dressing and chopped veggies. It really couldn’t get easier than that!
Just because gluten free Italian pasta salad is simple, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t a right and a wrong way to do it. As you may know from experience, gluten free pasta can be tricky to cook just right and it may not respond to the addition of acidic dressing the same way wheat pasta does. Fortunately for you, we’ve assembled a list of tips to help you make your gluten free pasta salad a success.
Here’s what you need to know about whipping up a tasty batch of gluten free Italian pasta salad, including some simple tips for dressing it up with colorful and flavorful add-ins.
How to Make a Delicious Dressing
The key to a great pasta salad is a good dressing. As you may already know, however, a good dressing doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, you can make a delicious pasta salad using store-bought dressing. It makes a great side dish for dinner or a last-minute contribution for a work potluck.
If you prefer to make the dressing yourself, all you need is a combination of oil, vinegar, and seasonings. Olive oil or vegetable oil should be the foundation of your dressing with a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar, distilled white vinegar, or something more delicate like champagne vinegar.
To flavor your dressing, stir in a little Dijon mustard, some Italian seasoning or dried herbs, and don’t forget the salt and pepper! Whisk it all up and adjust to taste.
5 Tips for Perfect Pasta Salad
As you dig into a dish of delicious pasta salad, you can’t help but think to yourself how simple it is. After all, it’s little more than cooked noodles and chopped veggies tossed in dressing. What’s so difficult about that? If you’ve ever tried to make it yourself, however, you may have discovered that the results can be mixed depending what type of pasta you use, how you cook it, and the other ingredients you add.
Though pasta salad is by no means difficult to prepare, there are some simple dos and don’ts you should follow to make sure yours turns out well:
- Don’t overcook the pasta. Overcooked noodles lead to mushy pasta salad as the acid from the dressing breaks down the starch in the noodles. If you’re using gluten free pasta, be extra careful.
- Chop the veggies small. Make sure when dicing your veggies to make them bite-sized – this ensures you get a taste of everything in every forkful!
- Cool the pasta before tossing. After your pasta has cooked, drain it then rinse it in cold water. Not only will this stop it from cooking further, but it will help cool the pasta down before you add the remaining ingredients.
- Give it time to sit before serving. Preparing your pasta salad ahead of time gives it time to sit so the dressing really soaks into the pasta and veggies to ensure a delicious flavor.
- Think about the presentation. The best part about pasta salad is that you don’t necessarily need a recipe. When chopping up your add-ins, however, be sure to think about how it’s going to look as well as how it’s going to taste.
Pasta salad is incredibly simple, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Aside from the pasta and the dressing, the other ingredients you add are what make the dish interesting. Read on to see our simple suggesting for taking plain pasta salad to the next level.
Ways to Dress Up Your Pasta Salad
When it comes to dressing up your pasta salad, the sky is the limit. Think about additional ingredients to add flavor, texture, and nutrition. Bell pepper, for example, provides a boost of nutrients and a delightful crunch while diced cheese or olives pack a punch of flavor. If you’re not looking to get too crazy, something as subtle as fresh chopped herbs can make a big difference.
Here are some tasty additions to consider for your pasta salad:
- Diced cheese
- Chopped salami or pepperoni
- Sliced olives
- Fresh chopped herbs
- Cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered)
- Diced red onion
- Chopped bell peppers
- Sliced celery
- Fresh chopped cauliflower
- Shaved carrots
Now that you know the secret to making a delicious dressing and picking the right add-ins for your Italian pasta salad, you’re ready to try it for yourself. Here’s our favorite recipe for gluten free Italian pasta salad to try at your next family picnic or summer gathering.
Recipe: Gluten Free Italian Pasta Salad
Whether you’re looking for a light lunch or a shareable side dish, gluten free Italian pasta salad is the way to go. This recipe is quick to prepare, easy to customize, and sure to satisfy.
Servings: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
- 1 box Schär Gluten Free Fusilli
- 1 small orange or yellow bell pepper
- 1 small green bell pepper
- ½ small red onion, diced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 ounce mozzarella cheese
- 6 ounces salami
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 cup olive oil or vegetable oil (or a mixture of both)
- 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil then add the Schär Gluten Free Fusilli.
- Cook the pasta to al dente, about 9 to 11 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and rinse well under cold water until the pasta has cooled.
- Dice the veggies then chop the cheese, salami, and fresh parsley.
- Combine the cooled pasta and chopped add-ins in a medium bowl, tossing well.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, and Italian seasoning.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste then toss with the pasta salad ingredients.
- Cover the bowl and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
A delicious gluten free pasta salad is all about the flavor of the dressing, so make sure you prepare it in enough advance that it has time to sit and soak up all that goodness. If you’re worried about your gluten free pasta getting too soggy, you can always toss the veggies and other add-ins with the dressing and mix it with the cooled pasta a little closer to mealtime.