The Best Pasta Salad EVER?

May 28, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Posted in Pasta Salad | 23 Comments
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Grilled burgers, pasta salads, hanging out on the back deck…get your flip-flops on, grab a cold glass of iced tea and Let The Summer Games Begin.

I honestly don’t have a really good pasta salad recipe. I used to. I don’t know what happened to it. I can’t remember what I thought was so darn good about it…I mean really, is there any magic to throwing together a good pasta salad? Do you really need a recipe? Well it seems I do, as nothing I “throw together” is impressing me.

So I decided to Google “best pasta salad recipe EVER”. After looking through a few of the results, this one caught my eye, so gave it a try. I think it showed up in the results because the first few reviewers exclaimed it to be the best pasta salad EVER.

I don’t know if it’s the “Best Pasta Salad EVER” but we really, really liked it.

Re-Googling, I can’t find the recipe to give credit where credit is due. It wasn’t from a food blogger, it was on a recipe site. And, by coincidence, just as I had finished preparation of my pasta salad, I headed to the computer to read a couple of food blogs last night before dinner and Buffalo Dick had just posted hisMacaroni Salad The Way A Guy Does It” pasta salad…so if you’re looking for a more “manly” version…

So here’s my recipe…it’s in my database sporting the title “Best Pasta Salad EVER”  and I suppose it can keep that title until something better comes along.

Before we go any further, I don’t want you looking at me like I have two heads when you see it calls for bottled Coleslaw Dressing. Finished product is quite tasty, and, as always, much better after sitting in the fridge overnight, gotta give those ingredients a chance to get to know each other better. Ok, you can proceed reading.

The Best Pasta Salad EVER?

1 19 ounce package of frozen three-cheese tortellini (Safeway had their five-cheese brand on sale, so that’s what I used)
1 lb bacon
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup bottled coleslaw dressing (I could only find one brand – Hidden Valley)

1. Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, drain, rinse with cold water, and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.

2. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Chop the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces while still a little warm.

3. Place the tortellini, bacon, broccoli, grape tomatoes, and green onions into a salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the ingredients, and toss lightly to coat. Chill in refrigerator before serving.

Servings: 10

When standing in the frozen pasta section and seeing all the different tortellini flavors, I really think the possibilities are interesting. But for now, I somewhat followed directions.

Why is this so good?  Salty bacon and onions, always a winner, chewy cheese tortellini, fresh crunch of broccoli, colored with red tomatoes, with a creamy sweet and tangy vineager dressing.  Yum. 

Do you have a pasta salad recipe that you think is the best EVER? 

Pasta Salad

It’s What’s For Summer

Stick around for a couple of photos from our picnic today;

Our friend Lee, joined us on a picnic/birdwatching trip to Chatfield State Park today. Along with this pasta salad, I packed a ham sandwich wrapped in a plain white bag, tied off with some string with a sprig of fresh rosemary tucked beneath. I copy-catted this idea from my boss Sheri who was recently in a restaurant in Texas where they served a sandwich wrapped like this. She took a photo of it with her phone and sent it to me…that’s right, I now have people taking photos of food and sending them to me. 

The Riparian area along the South Platte River that flows into Chatfield Reservoir. This grove is lousy with birds.

A photo of  hills behind the lake. We’re kinda funny in Colorado, we call our mountains “hills” and our puny little reservoirs “lakes”. We’re at an angle and so close to the foothills that you can’t see those gorgeous 14,000 ft. snow-capped peaks looming behind.  With its close proximity to the Denver Metro Area, tomorrow this lake will be filled with boats. 

Have a great holiday weekend!

One Year Ago:  Cream Cheese Flan



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  1. I wish I had friends who took pictures of cutely wrapped sandwiches and sent them to me!

    • Well, I don’t know what that says about me.

  2. While this looks very good and I trust your taste…I have to say I do this I have a recipe for the best pasta salad ever.

    Take the trifecta of basil, tomato and mozzarella, add avocado and pine nuts and then drizzle with balsamic dressing…I mean I know your mouth is watering, isn’t it?

    The picture (crappy that it is) is meaningful as it was the very last one taken with my old point and shoot. Forced me to buy a DSLR and things haven’t been the same since! Seems I need to make it myself, soon, if only to get a better picture (oh, yeah, and eat half of it before company comes too!).

    Have a safe and fun Memorial Day Lea Ann!

    • Barb, I did head over to your blog to see that pasta salad and it looks and sounds WONderful. I’ll give it a try soon. Love the addition of avocado. Thanks for sending me the link.

  3. And I will be copy catting those wraps in a couple of weeks when I take the kids on a picnic! Cute idea.
    Alos love the idea of using tortellini in a pasta salad. The ingredients sound like a great combo.

    -haha, “lousy with birds” 🙂

    • I knew you’d like the “lousy with” reference! 🙂

  4. Your salad looks good from here and like most things, it’s a matter of what you like. I think the one I posted about on May 16 was about as good as I’ve ever had, except I’d use Newmans Caesar dressing as I usually do. I’ve used the same dressing on a salad that is lots of veggies with the pasta and it works well there also, I mix in the veggies while the pasta is hot to take a little of the raw edge off the veggies. Looks like a good picnic spot.

    • oh that’s right, I’ll have to go back and take another look at your pasta salad. I agree with your method of mixing in vegies while pasta is hot, it also helps blend the flavors better. I also do that with potato salad. Heading over to Big Dude right now.

  5. I really think tortellini makes for the best pasta salad. Those little cheesy rings are just awesome. I really love pesto pasta salad with tortellini, cherry tomatoes, and black olives. Good stuff.

    • I think your combination really sounds good. Saving that idea!

  6. Not bad for a girlie girl pasta salad…HeeHeeHee..

    • awrightie Mr. BD……I’ll have you know that I don’t throw a softball ball like a girl!

      • I played center field on a winning team into my mid- thirties! Remember the song “Anything you can do, I can do better”..God, I can be an annoying man! 🙂

  7. I have my mother’s Spaghetti salad which is my favorite that I need to do a post on soon. It’s the ONLY dish that I will eat with regular store bought tuna in it.

    Great area to take a picnic!

    • You know now that you say “spaghetti”, I do believe my lost recipe was a cold spaghetti salad. Don’t think it involved Tuna. I’ll be anxious to see your recipe.

  8. Oh, I love the sammie wrapped like that…too cute! I don’t have a favorite pasta salad recipe…but I love tortellini in my pasta salad, that’s a definite plus! Sounds yummy. =)

  9. Tortellini in salad is new to me but it sure looks good!

    In MN, the hills are called mountains and the lakes are ponds….go figure!

    • It was new to me also Berin, but when I read the recipe I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it! Thanks for stopping by

  10. This looks wonderful! I like it that it can be made with a few things already on hand. Great post!

  11. I never make pasta salads I don’t know why! I could easily make this one and my daughter would inhale it! Thanks for sharing an easy and flavorful recipe!

  12. […] was a fun idea for the napkins, inspired by Lea Ann’s sandwich wraps over at Mangos, Chili & Z. .  The little chive blossoms were very tasty when pulled apart and sprinkled on the […]

  13. […] One Year Ago:  Best Pasta Salad Ever […]

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