I love the summer. It has to be my favorite time of year. It's warm outside, the sun is shining, and I don't have to work! I have plenty of time to bake and cook and I love trying new recipes with my extra time. Unfortunately we do not have air conditioning so I can only bake early in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler.
That means whenever I'm looking to make lunch or dinner I want something that is either fast to cook or is a cold dish that's also filling. I make a lot of salads and pasta salads. I have a formula when I make them but I try to switch the flavors up when I can. This pasta salad is very hearty, has great Italian flavors, and is a snap to make. Plus our theme for this month's The Salad Bar is Potluck Salads and I always bring pasta salad to a potluck.
While the base of all my pasta salads have pasta, cheese, pepperoni, and dressing, this one really gets bonus points for the onion, artichoke hearts, bell pepper, and roasted red peppers. The dressing is a combination of Italian dressing, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings. It's really delicious and makes a complete meal when served with Italian bread.
Italian Pasta Salad (adapted from Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice)
For the Dressing:
1 c. Italian dressing
⅓ c. Parmesan Cheese, freshly grater
1 t. oregano
1 t. black pepper
½ t. salt
For the Pasta Salad:
¼ c. finely diced red onion
¾ c. chopped artichoke hearts
1 green pepper, chopped
½ c. roasted red peppers, chopped
¾ c. pepperoni, chopped
¾ c. mozzarella cheese, diced
10 oz. small pasta, cooked
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
¼ t. red pepper flakes
1. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. In a large bowl combine the pasta and vegetables. Toss to combine.
3. Pour the dressing over top of the pasta and mix well.
4. Mix in the pepperoni, cheese, and seasonings and toss to combine. Taste the pasta salad and season with additional salt or pepper if desired. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.