I absolutely love a picnic, and one of my go-to foods to bring is a big pasta salad. They tend to be a crowd pleaser, and don't often to go soggy or limp when they've been out of the fridge for a few hours.
Packed with vibrant veggies, zesty dressing, and wholesome pasta, this recipe is guaranteed to be a hit with both veggies and meat eaters alike. So, grab your picnic blanket and let's get cooking!
- 225 grams/8 ounces of your favourite pasta (I love farfalle for this)
- 150 grams/1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small cucumber, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 75 grams/half cup black olives, pitted and sliced
- 75 grams/half cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
- 15 grams/quarter cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 15 grams/quarter cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
For the Dressing:
- 60 ml/quarter cup extra virgin olive oil
- 30 ml/2tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 15 ml/1tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 5 grams/1tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Start by cooking the pasta according to the package instructions until it's al dente. Once cooked, drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set it aside in a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: While the pasta is cooking, take this opportunity to prepare your veggies. Chop the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, black olives, and fresh herbs. Feel free to change up the vegetable selection based on your personal preferences.
Step 3: In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. Remember, the dressing is what brings all the flavours together!
Step 4: Add the chopped veggies, crumbled feta cheese (if using), and fresh herbs to the cooked pasta. Pour the dressing over the top and gently toss everything together until the pasta and veggies are evenly coated in the dressing.
Step 5: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle and the salad to chill. This step is essential for achieving the perfect picnic-ready pasta salad!
Step 6: Pack and enjoy! Once the salad has chilled, it's time to pack it up and head out for your picnic adventure! Transfer the pasta salad to a portable container or individual mason jars for easy transportation. Don't forget to bring along some extra basil and parsley leaves for garnishing.
There you have it, a delightful vegetarian pasta salad recipe that will make your picnic an absolute hit! Whether you're lounging in the park or soaking up the sunshine at the beach, grab a fork and dig in.