This easy salad is perfect for summer get-togethers. It’s fast, easy, and can be made ahead.
16oz whole wheat short pasta like rotini or penne
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of olives, drained and chopped into quarters
Total of 3-4 cups of chopped vegetables, options include:
Bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green, cut into small pieces)
Cucumber (regular or english, chopped)
Cherry tomatoes (cut in quarters to prevent choking)
Broccoli or cauliflower (to prevent choking in toddlers, steam first and chop)
Chopped red onion or green onion
Up to ¼ cup of chopped herbs (basil, parsley, tarragon work best)
About ¾ cup Cheese, options include:
Mozzarella balls (choking risk for toddlers, shredded cheese is better for young children, mozzarella balls are shown in the photo)
Squares of cheddar or your favorite kind of cheese (choking risk for toddlers, shredded is best)
Optional add-ins: chopped salami, pepperoni, or ham
1 bottle of Italian dressing
Basic instructions: cook pasta, chop veggies, and combine everything in a bowl with the dressing
Cook the pasta “al dente” according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, drain and rinse the olives and beans and put them in a large bowl.
While the pasta is cooking, wash the vegetables, chop them, and put them in the bowl with the beans + olives.
If you are using a red onion: chop it, and put it in the bottom of a strainer. When you drain the pasta, drain it on top of the onion in the strainer. The hot water will cook the onion so it isn’t so strong.
When the pasta is finished, drain it and rinse with cold water. Let the pasta sit in the strainer until it is dry. You want the pasta to be dry so it absorbs the dressing.
When the pasta is drained, add it to the bowl with the vegetables, beans, and olives.
Pour the entire bottle of Italian dressing on the salad and stir to combine.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. The salad can be made up to 2 days in advance.