Memorial Day is coming up, marking the first day of “summer” as most people see it! Outdoor pools will open, grills will be smoking, and you’ll have picnics and barbecues to host and attend! Hosting a party can be stressful and difficult to make foods that everyone can enjoy. I find it handy to have several tried and true recipes up my sleeve. My favorite picnic and barbecue recipe is this easy Summer Pasta Salad. This colorful salad is vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, and with a few small swaps can be made gluten free, too. Make it the night before and save yourself some stress!
My favorite thing about this Summer Pasta Salad is that I can prep this salad the night before and mix it together right before our event. I wash and chop the veggies the night before and store in a sealed container. I’ll also cook the pasta the night before and store separately until go time. Then, on the day of the event, I’ll make my Italian dressing, toss it all together, and we’re ready to serve!
You can use any type of pasta for this recipe but I like to use larger pastas like a macaroni or a Barilla Collezione Casarecce because they are easy to pick up with a fork and eat in a big bite with veggies. I also like to cut my veggies into similar sizes as the pasta so you can get a bit of everything in one bite.
This recipe is so flexible. The recipe below is vegan, vegetarian, and dairy free. Swap out the pasta for some gluten free pasta and make sure you use gluten free vinegar in the Italian salad dressing (important: some vinegar can contain gluten!) and your gluten free friends can be free to enjoy it as well. I like to also have a bowl of parmesan or feta cheese on the table as well for those who may not have dairy restrictions and still want cheese.
Speaking of table settings, I love to decorate my table with fresh flowers. I found these darlings at Sprouts and they’ve lasted me OVER 2 weeks!!
Making your own Italian dressing is much easier than you’d think. No need to buy the store bought kind! In a small blender- I like my magic bullet- mix vinegar, olive oil, water, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, celery salt, salt, and sugar. Voila! How easy is that?
Summer Pasta Salad
My easy Summer Pasta Salad is the perfect make ahead recipe for your next barbecue. This colorful salad is vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, and with a few small swaps can be made gluten free, too. Make it the night before and save yourself some stress!
- 2 cups pasta (cooked and drained)
- 5 stalks celery
- 4 medium roma tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped red onions
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 1 cup corn
- 1 can black beans
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives (halved)
Homemade Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp sugar
Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
Wash and chop all the vegetables.
In a small blender, mix the vinegar, olive oil, water, and seasonings until it forms a dressing.
Toss the vegetables, pasta, beans, and dressing together in a large bowl. Chill until ready to serve.
Do you have a go – to barbecue recipe? Share in the comments below!