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I made this salad up when my sister called and said "lets BBQ at your house tonight!" and I responded "OK, I'll make a side dish". I wanted a pasta salad, with some vegetables in it, and I didn't want to go shopping, so everything in this dish was something I had on hand. Feel free to make subsitutions, according to your own tastes and what YOU have on hand when you need to make it. The only ingredients that I think are key are the pasta- use a small shape instead of a long noodle, and the oil-vinegar mix. Use whatever seasoning mixes are your personal favorites, I've listed the ones I used to give you an idea. The dressing may look really oily when you first mix it with the pasta, but the pasta will absorb a lot as it sits in the fridge, so don't worry. Chilling time is not included in prep or cooking time.
- 4 ounces dry pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon spinach dip mix, like Tastefully Simple's
- 1 tablespoon garlic parmesan seasoning, like Garlic Gourmet's
- 10 slices pepperoni, sliced into 1/16 inch ribbons
- 1 ounce mozzarella cheese, diced in 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1⁄2 cup frozen peas
- 1⁄2 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
- salt and pepper
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until done, but not soggy.
- While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the oil, vinegar, dip mix, and garlic seasoning in a bowl large enough to hold all of the salad ingedients.
- When the pasta is done, drain well, and add to the dressing while still hot.
- Stir well to coat the pasta with the dressing.
- Add the pepperoni, cheese, capers, corn, and peas. Stir to combine.
- Chill for at least two hours to let the flavors combine.
- When ready to serve, taste, and add salt or pepper as needed.
- Sprinkle paprika over the salad, mix gently, and serve.
- Other ideas to add: Leftover roast chicken or sliced ham instead of the pepperoni; cheddar or swiss cheese instead of the mozzerella; artichoke heart quarters, cooked white beans, broccoli florets (blanched and drained); frozen lima beans or green beans.
- You can use bottled salad dressing instead of the oil, vinegar and seasonings, or use a seasoning mix your family likes mixed with the oil and vinegar.