Prep 45 mins
Cook 15 mins
One of my children is particularly fond of pasta salads, and this is his all-time fave. It's from a cookbook compiled by the ladies at his grandmother's church years ago. This is a great dish for cookouts or tailgate parties if any guests are vegetarian, but you can always add some chopped pepperoni or ham if you'd prefer. P.S. If this is really close to a recipe already posted, I apologize. Spent 20 minutes checking, but there are soooo many....!
- 1 (16 ounce) package rotini pasta (spiral pasta)
- 2 small zucchini, ends removed, chopped
- 1 large cucumber, ends removed, seeded, chopped
- 2 medium bell peppers, stems removed, seeded, chopped (I use 1 orange and 1 yellow for color)
- 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 (10 ounce) can black olives, drained well and chopped (optional(kids don't like, so I omit)
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, partially drained
- 1⁄3 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 1⁄2 teaspoon whole celery seed
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian salad dressing (we prefer Kraft Zesty Italian)
- Boil rotini. (Package directions will indicate 8-10 minutes. My family thinks 'al dente' translates to 'raw', so I cook the pasta 4 or 5 minutes longer, until it tastes tender.).
- Drain pasta; rinse well with cold water.
- In a very, very large bowl, mix cooled pasta with zucchini, cucumber, sweet peppers, onion and olives, if desired.
- Stir in tomatoes. (I use a slotted spoon. That way, you get a little juice, but not an overwhelming amount. If fresh ones are in season, even better, of course!)
- In a small bowl, mix grated cheese with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, celery seeds, paprika and garlic powder.
- Sprinkle seasoning mixture over pasta; stir well.
- Pour Italian dressing over all, stirring well.
- Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. (Actually, I find this hits its' 'peak' at 48 hours. Stays good for several days after that, but finally begins to get mushy.).