This Loaded Italian Pasta Salad from The Best Blog Recipes is a classic pasta salad that so incredibly easy to make. Loaded with fresh vegetables, cheese, pepperoni, salami, and Barilla Gluten Free Penne Pasta — this is a dish that is perfect for your next potluck, picnic, or anytime you need a hearty salad for a crowd!
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LOADED ITALIAN PASTA SALAD
Pasta salads are one of our all time favorite dishes to take to family gatherings. Especially when they are loaded with fresh vegetables, fresh mozzarella cheese, pasta, meats, and Italian Dressing. With so many delicious ingredients this Loaded Italian Pasta Salad fills your bowl to the very top making it the perfect dish to serve at potlucks, picnics, and family gatherings.
But what happens when you are taking a dish to a gathering where you know there will be people with a gluten sensitivity and / or intolerance?
Before I made this pasta salad I thought long and hard about our family members that needed more gluten free options to eat when we all get together. I know how hard it is for them to find delicious side dishes that they can enjoy so I picked up a box of Barilla Gluten Free Penne Pasta and decided to make one of our family favorite recipes.
Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret…. I was a bit apprehensive to use a gluten free pasta at first, but I went ahead and decided to try it anyways. It was easy to find in the pasta aisle at my local Albertson’s store here in town.
To tell you the truth, I was surprised at just how good this pasta cooked up. I seriously couldn’t tell the difference in texture or taste, and neither could our family. It was funny every time someone asked for the recipe and I told them it used a gluten free pasta.
They couldn’t believe it.
Just look at the picture below, the texture of this pasta is amazing. It is so similar to regular pasta and both my husband and I couldn’t believe it. It’s also made with non-GMO corn and rice which is a total bonus to our family!
The other nice thing about this recipe is that it is so easy to make! I recruited my husband to help me chop the vegetables and by the time the pasta was cooked al dente, everything was ready to assemble.
One of my little tricks for my pasta salads is when the pasta is finished cooking just rinse it under cold water for a minute and then drain off the excess water with a few shakes in the strainer. This quickly brings the temperature of the pasta down and you can start putting all of your other ingredients with them.
I usually chop my vegetables on the small side. I think it helps the flavors meld together better when it chills in the refrigerator. You can use whatever vegetables are your favorites, or what is fresh and in season.
I decided to go with all of my personal favorites: zucchini, carrot shreds, olives, red onions, artichoke hearts, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, green bell pepper, chives, cherry tomatoes, and green onions. Add fresh chopped mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, and a zesty Italian dressing and then toss together.
This pasta seriously tastes amazing, but don’t be tempted to eat it all right now. Trust me, the flavors explode when you put it in the fridge for at least an hour, but 2-3 is better.
If you don’t have the time to wait for it to chill that’s ok too. You can make it, take it, and serve it right away if you are pressed for time.
So the next time you need a quick and easy side dish to serve up to a crowd make this Loaded Italian Pasta Salad and your friends and family will thank you!
We even have a coupon for you to use when you make this Loaded Italian Pasta Salad. Just click HERE for a $0.75 off coupon to use on your Barilla Gluten Free Pasta Purchase.
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Loaded Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 box Barilla Gluten Free Penne Pasta
- 1/2 Red Onion, Chopped
- 1 Whole Zucchini, Chopped
- 5 Whole Green Onions, Chopped
- 1/2 cup Carrot Shreds
- 3 Tablespoons Chives, Chopped
- 1 Whole Yellow Pepper, Chopped
- 1 Whole Green Pepper, Chopped
- 1 Whole Red Pepper, Chopped
- 1 Package Pepperoni, Chopped
- 1 Package Salami, Chopped
- 1 Cup Olives, Chopped
- 1.5 Cups Fresh Mozzarella, Chopped
- 1 15 oz Can Artichoke Hearts, Chopped
- 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2-3 cups Zesty Italian Dressing
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add Barilla Gluten Free Penne Pasta and salt, stir. Cook al dente, drain water and run cold water over pasta. Dump in large bowl.
Chop all of your vegetables, meats, and cheese. Add to the large bowl with pasta.
Add 2-3 cups of Zesty Italian Dressing over your ingredients.
Toss the salad making sure to coat all of the ingredients with dressing.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-3 hours, or until ready to serve.