When I think of pasta salad, I think of summertime BBQs, cookouts with family and friends, pool parties and all of that other school’s out fun! I think this stems from the fact that my all-time favorite pasta salad is one that the mother of one of my best friends from childhood would make for us constantly throughout the summer.
My friend Kristen’s house was the hang out spot in the summertime because she lived 30 seconds away from our community pool and also had a trampoline. What more could you want as a kid in the summer!? Since I basically lived at Kristen’s house all summer long, I ate a LOT of her mom’s pasta salad.
Her mom’s pasta salad was made with tri-color rotini pasta, fresh chopped cucumber, sliced cherry tomatoes, black olives and a bottle of Italian dressing. Simple and tasty! Last Friday night, we hosted a casual cookout at our house and since temperatures outside hit 80 degrees, I wanted to make a simple meal that felt fresh and summery. I ended up revisiting my favorite childhood pasta salad to serve as one of the side dishes but revamped it a bit with a homemade Italian dressing and some fresh baby spinach and parsley to give it a little more flavor.
I was able to get everything I needed for our casual cookout and this pasta salad from BJ’s Wholesale Club and since I was watching a friend’s kids on Friday afternoon, I took advantage of their same-day grocery delivery to have all of the ingredients delivered to my door. I love grocery shopping but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t seriously LOVE the convenience of grocery delivery, too. It takes the stress out of last-minute grocery shopping, especially when you throw kids in the mix! (If you’re all about that in-person grocery shopping, there are definite advantages to shopping in-club at BJ’s as well, including the ability to combine coupons from manufacturers on top of BJ’s exclusive coupons and you can even digitally add coupons to your card via the BJ’s app making the potential for savings even greater.) And whether you shop online or in-club, BJ’s offers incredible summer savings and beats supermarket prices on national brands every day (saving families up to 25 percent off grocery store prices!) which I’ve seen first-hand whenever I compare their prices to other grocers through the grocery delivery service.
After placing my order, within about 90 minutes, I had fresh veggies, herbs and pasta and all the fixings for a homemade Italian dressing waiting on my doorstep.
If you’re a bit of a texture freak like me, I think this pasta salad will especially appeal to you because it’s the perfect combination of chewy and crunchy with a zesty dressing to pull all of the ingredients together and help the fresh vegetables shine!
Simple Summer Pasta SaladPrint
Simple Summer Pasta Salad
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 5 min
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Category: pasta, pasta salad
This Simple Summer Pasta Salad is the perfect summery side dish for cookouts. Made with a homemade Italian dressing and tri-color rotini pasta for a pop of color, it’s easy to whip up in no time at all.
- 2 12-ounce boxes tri-colored rotini pasta, cooked, drained and chilled
- 1 cup black olives, sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 Wellsley Farms English seedless cucumber, chopped
- 2 cups Wellsley Farms organic baby spinach, finely chopped
For the dressing:
- 1 cup Wellsley Farms organic olive oil
- 2/3 cup red wine or white wine vinegar (or any combination of the two)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons Wellsley Farms pink Himalayan salt
- 2 teaspoons Wellsley Farms organic maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk rapidly to combine. (I also love pouring all of the salad dressing ingredients into a large mason jar and shaking everything up until it’s all properly mixed together.)
- Combine all of the pasta salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Pour salad dressing on top of pasta salad and stir to combine.
- Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Keywords: pasta, pasta recipes, pasta salad, side dish, side dish recipes, summer recipes, easy recipes
Enjoy! And please let me know if you give this one a try!
Jackie Reedel says
Hi Julie – long time reader here!
It seems like most of your posts are sponsored or advertisements nowadays. I understand bloggers need to make a living, but I was wondering if all of these partnerships are for brands and products you really use, and how you select which ones you engage with?
Your posts and opinions have always seemed so genuine to me and I’ve personally followed tips of yours on a variety of topics in the past. I’ve just noticed so many sponsored posts recently, and there have been some that really have made me scratch my head.
Hi Jackie!! I am so so sorry I somehow missed this comment a while back! It went into my spam folder but I wanted to answer your question and make sure you knew I saw it!! As for how I choose my partnerships, I only work with brands and companies who create products I personally use and love. Sometimes I am introduced to a brand/product through a partnership but I never sign a contract or agree to work with a company until I feel confident I’ll be a repeat customer or that my readers might also use and love a product/products from the company. This partnership with BJ’s came about and I used my membership there for several months before agreeing to work together and that was only after I found myself naturally gravitating toward ordering BJ’s bulk items via Instacart because they were so affordable and saved our family money and I also began to really love and use their Wellsley Farms line of products (specifically their organic items). I hope this helps answer your question. I truly do turn away 90% of the sponsorships that I’m approached with and try to be selective and work with brands I enjoy that I think my readers might also use and enjoy! Working with BJ’s to create recipes to share with you guys has been a lot of fun for me and I really hope you and my other readers enjoy the recipes. Also, thank you so much for reading for so long!!
Great recipe! My 6 year old devoured her bowl.
Perfect timing! We have an end of the school year party for my daughter tomorrow and I now know what I’ll be making. Thanks for sharing.
This sounds delicious! I love a good summer salad, and I will definitely add this to my list of summertime recipes. Thank you! One of my favorites for a summer BBQ is this super easy shrimp couscous salad one of my friends found on the internet and brought to a summer BBQ. It isn’t mayo based, so it’s perfect for warmer weather. Seriously it is so good, and it is even better the next day!
Oh!!! I will have to try that! I don’t love mayo-based salads (with the exception of tuna/chicken salad) and pretty much love any kind of seafood so this sounds right up my alley!!
This is nice. Paula Deen has one similar with mushrooms and balsamic!
completely understand that sponsored posts are essential in the blogging world but I feel that bloggers owe their readers the respect to only take sponsorships from companies they believe in. On that note, haven’t you had sponsored posts from several grocery stores at this point? I understand the value of shopping around but is it possible to have four different favorite grocery stores? I’ve been a reader for a while now and they are all starting to seem a bit insincere.
Emma Bierling says
Super delicious, thanks for the recipe! I added white beans (protein) and roasted walnuts (crunch) and it was a perfect lunch (whole meal, not only side dish).
LOVE your additions! That sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing and for taking the time to comment!
Michelle B says
Hi Julie! Quick question about your recipe. I’m getting ready to leave for vacation and want to make this pasta salad to go with our dinner one night next week. Do you think the salad dressing is something I can make ahead of time so that I don’t have to pack all of the ingredients? If so, would you keep it in the fridge or room temp? Thanks again! Your boys are adorable! 🙂
Absolutely!! I’d just keep the dressing in an air-tight container and then shake it vigorously before pouring it over the pasta when you’re ready to make the full recipe. I hope you love it!