Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad <br> Photography by Joe Kim Credits: Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad <br> Photography by Joe Kim
Planning a picnic or family barbecue anytime soon? Give yourself one less thing to worry about and go for one of our easy pasta salad recipes. It's sure to be a hit!
Pasta salads are great to make ahead, and are absolute tops for large groups. They also take the cake for being an extremely versatile dish – with a host of added ingredients, toppings and dressings, simple pasta salads can go from humble side to star entrée in no time.
We asked Test Kitchen food specialist Amanda Barnier to share some top tips for preparing pasta salads, and why they're a crowd favourite. Here's what she had to share:
Pasta salads: the perfect make-ahead dish
"Pasta salads can easily be prepped in advance and can feed a crowd with little effort," Amanda says. "It can be made in advance and cooled immediately after cooking."
One important tip to remember, she adds, is to "add dressing the day it's being served, because it will quickly absorb the dressing."
Pasta salad favourites
"I like using cheese filled tortellini for a hearty salad. Soba and rice noodles are great with Asian dressings, whole grain and coloured pastas," Amanda says.
How to store pasta salads
"Keep salads well wrapped and refrigerated," she says. "Salad has the same storage life as its ingredients. Seafood is best eaten within 2 days, and chicken (within) 2 to 3 days. If traveling, be sure to store pasta salads in coolers packed with lots of ice."
"Proteins should not be within 4 C and 60 C for longer than a four hour period," she adds.
The long and short of it: best pasta shapes
"Short shapes are best with vinaigrettes and creamy dressings, and chunky ingredients such as chopped vegetables and beans," Amanda says.
"Long pasta shapes are better used with thinly sliced vegetables, proteins, herbs, spices and vinaigrettes."
Tips for making pasta salad
"If making a pasta salad in advance, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well," she advises. "Add dressing just prior to serving. Pasta quickly absorbs liquids; if the dressing is added too soon, the pasta will absorb it."
So whether you prefer chunky pasta salads with a cool, creamy dressing perfect for summer picnics, or entrée-worthy pasta salads with long rice noodles and a tangy vinaigrette, you're sure to find a new favourite with from our collection.
Easy pasta salad recipes:
Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad
A bright vinaigrette makes this pasta salad the ultimate dish to serve at any summer party.
Photography by Joe Kim
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
This salad highlights many fresh flavours of the Mediterranean and is at its best when made with good-quality olive oil.
Photography by Jeff Coulson
The Best Macaroni Salad
This is a great keeper salad and perfect for a picnic or BBQ. Just make sure you pack it with plenty of ice packs to keep it nice and cold, both during transportation and at the table.
Photography by Annabelle Waugh
Chicken, Broccoli and Bocconcini Pasta Salad
Make this pasta salad for the whole family—the kids will love the mild dressing and round bocconcini cheese, while the adults will appreciate it as a light alternative to a sandwich.
Photography by Jeff Coulson
More great pasta salad recipes:
Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
This salad is simple to assemble for a quick family meal.
Warm Spinach and Ham Pasta Salad
Dressed with Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar, this penne pasta salad is a winner topped with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes.
Winter Vegetable Pasta Salad
Cook everything together in one pot for this easy warm salad.
Pea, Pepper and Pasta Salad
This make-ahead salad is perfect for toting to a potluck barbecue or picnic. Toss the salad with the dressing right before serving so the peas stay bright green.
Summer Pasta Salad
Serve this light summery salad with crispy, homemade Parmesan Breadsticks.
Mediterranean Fusilli Salad
Fresh basil, hearty beans, piquant sun-dried tomatoes and al dente pasta make the perfect summer salad.
Warm Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
The dressing lends a taste of summer any time of year. The red peppers provide vitamins A and C and potassium. Quick and easy to make, this salad is perfect to take to a last-minute potluck or picnic.
Grilled Sausage, Pepper and Bocconcini Pasta Salad
This delicious pasta salad is made with tasty Italian sausage and lots of colourful peppers.
Bow-Tie Pasta Salad
This easy, colourful salad has the sunny fresh tastes of Greece.
Tuna Pasta Salad
Using tuna packed in both oil and broth means you'll need less oil in the dressing.
Salmon Pasta Salad
Start with melon wedges to whet your appetite for this quick and light dinner.
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
Grilled market-fresh veggies meet marinated olives and artichokes in this healthy dish made with whole wheat rotini. So chock full with taste and texture, carnivores won't complain about this vegetarian dish.
Party Parmesan Pasta Salad
Try this hearty salad studded with salami, olives, tiny tomatoes, roasted pepper and fresh basil.
Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
This easy tasty pasta salad is loaded with calcium. Omit the banana peppers if your child is not a fan of hot food.
Deli Pasta Salad
Add 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) extra pasta to the pot at dinner the night before to have enough for this lunchtime salad the next day.
Sirloin Steak with Green Bean Pasta Salad
Sirloin steaks paired with green beans and tomatoes make this salad a hearty entrée.
Looking for more great recipes? Try our best potato salad recipes.
At her baby shower two years ago, Jessica Stewart received three mini motorcycle jackets and a tiny pair of jewel-encrusted high top sneakers. “They were super cute gifts given to me by well-meaning friends without kids, and they were totally impractical, “ Jessica recalls. “My older sister, who had a two year old, was the one who gave me the best baby gift. It was a bag full of the essentials: newborn diapers and diaper rash cream, a set of bottles, baby nail clippers, a pack of soothers and some stretch mark cream. It was what my baby and I really needed and we used every item within the first two weeks.”
Jessica now makes it her mission to give practical, smart baby gifts to all of her friends. “Before I had a kid, I thought that those hand-knit, artisan, one of a kind sweaters were a great gift. I’m a bit embarrassed about those now that I know how silly it is to pull itchy wool over a newborn’s head.”
Jessica’s go-to shower gift is a homemade keepsakes box filled with baby must-haves: baby lotion, bottles and a nipple variety pack, soothers and a receiving blanket. “The items are all things a new baby needs and the box can be kept to store mementos from the first year, like the newborn cap from the hospital, the ankle bracelet, first pictures, that home-from-the-hospital outfit and more. My mom friends tell me consistently that this is the best gift they received at their shower.”
The next time you receive a baby shower invite or need a gift for a newborn, consider those essentials that baby really needs. Research from PlaytexBaby™ shows that close to two-thirds of new moms receive an impractical gift, while the items that new moms say they really want include diapers, onesies, books, toys and bottles. Moms also say that they love gift cards, so if you are unsure of what to get, a baby store gift card is always a good option.
From September 30 to October 31, PlaytexBaby™ and Babies “R” Us® are making gift-giving easier. With every $40 purchase, before tax, of PlaytexBaby™ essentials, you will receive a bonus $10 gift card.* You can add the gift card to your baby gift to help out mom even more, or keep it for your next purchase. To learn more about this offer click here.
*Excluding all Playtex® Diaper Genie Products®. Program valid from September 30 to October 31, 2016 in store and online. Conditions apply.
Since hitting the spotlight, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau—along with her stylist Jessica Mulroney—has championed Canadian designers and brands. Take a look at her vibrant fashion choices.
For her second outfit during the Royal Canada Tour, Sophie wore a flattering dress by Tanya Taylor.
To greet Will and Kate on their Royal Canada tour, Sophie wore a dress by Éditions de Robes and a hat by The Saucy Milliner.
Sophie wore a Tracy Moore designed by Freda dress to greet the Chinese premiere.
Trudeau paired a Pink Tartan blazer with an UNTITTD gold dress and a statement necklace from Katherine Karambelas Jewelry.
While walking the blue carpet for the Global Citizen fesitval, Sophie wore this classic leather jacket from Canadian brand Mackage.
After walking the blue carpet, Trudeau ditched her Mackage jacket to reveal this black dress from Madame Moje.
Trudeau wore the same red jumpsuit by Lucian Matis that she donned for Canada Day. We love that she shops her own closet!
Sophie wore a dress by Jason Wu from The Room at Hudson's Bay on her husband's trip to China.
Trudeau wore a turquoise jumpsuit by designer Aleks Susak to celebrate Pride in Vancouver. Bracelets from Anzie, sunnies from Claudia Alan and Susie Wall and wedges from Browns complete the look.
Trudeau looked absolutely perfect on her first Canada Day as the nation's first lady, sporting a white hat and red one-piece by Canadian designer Lucian Matis.
Sophie wore American colours and Canadian designer Muriel Dombret to meet with President Obama in June, 2016.
Accessorizing with dangling earrings and pulled back hair, Sophie looked like a prize in a gold ballgown at the Ottawa State Dinner.
At the Press Gallery Dinner Trudeau wore this UNTTLD white dress—looking classy while having some fun.
Trudeau is wearing a custom Aleks Susak two-piece during a private ceremony in Ottawa in early June, 2016.
Sophie wore Lucian Matis to round out her Japan wardrobe.
Posing with other spouses of the G7 leaders, Sophie looks comfortable and elegant in a jumpsuit created by Toronto-born Tanya Taylor.
On May 26, 2016, the first lady of Canada sported a custom design by Canadian designer Wayne Clark during a cocktail event at the G7 summit in Japan.
Sophie Gregoire Trudeau wore a pale pink dress by Jay Godfrey to meet Empress Michiko of Japan during a trip to the Imperial Palace on May 24, 2016.
On May 24, 2016, Gregoire Trudeau wore a floral dress by Erdem to visit the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.
For her arrival at the airport in Tokyo, Gregoire Trudeau wore a suit by Montreal designer Marie Saint Pierre.
Gregoire Trudeau in a lovely Greta Constantine dress accessorized with a simple string of pearls.
Sophie was dressed head-to-toe in Canadian designs for the 2016 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards. She wore a tailored jumpsuit by Mikael D. with a deep V in front and a beautiful flowing cape with embellished shoulders.
We're used to seeing Sophie in feminine, colourful pieces, but this woman can rock a suit as well. She wore Canadian favourite Pink Tartan at the Catalyst Awards Dinner in March 2016, where her husband was honoured.
For the state dinner in March 2016, Trudeau chose a fuschia gown by Lucian Matis, and accessorized with a handbag by Ela, Zvelle shoes, John de Jong earrings and a Dean Davidson ring. The gown was classic in its design, but a vibrant and youthful choice for Trudeau, who isn't afraid of colour. Michelle Obama also chose Canadian (wearing custom Jason Wu) to the state dinner.
Wearing a red and pink dress from Lucian Matis, Trudeau accessorized with heels by Zvelle and a red clutch from Aldo.
Trudeau wore a custom DUY suit for her arrival with her family in Washington.
Sophie Gregoire Trudeau wore this dazzling Greta Constantine dress for the International Women's Empowerment Leadership Conference in Toronto in early 2016.
For the Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa in 2015, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau chose a grey coat by the Toronto-based company Sentaler, and a cloche (hat) by Chapeaux de Madeleine in Ottawa.
Sporting a two-tone, floral dress by Erdem for Justin Trudeau's swearing in as Prime Minister, Sophie Trudeau looked regal. Her only accessory? A simple poppy for Remembrance Day.
Trudeau wore something a little more traditional as she arrived for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in November of 2015, wearing a pale pink lace dress with a matching fascinator.
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau helped design her own wedding dress, with a little help from Les Noces Couture in Montreal.
Salt and Pepper Steak Rub <br /> Photography by Ryan Brook Credits: Salt and Pepper Steak Rub <br /> Photography by Ryan Brook