With the July 4th weekend coming up fast, I’ve decided to make one of my favorite summer side dishes for the occasion. It’s perfect to serve alongside all the hot dogs and hamburgers you’ll be grilling up. Get ready to whip up a simple pasta salad that’s perfect for summer picnics and barbeques!
Anything with pasta is automatically my favorite (but I could easily say the same about chocolate…) so I like to make recipes with it whenever I can. Besides fireworks, the Fourth of July just screams picnics at me. And what’s a good picnic without a pasta salad? Well, I’ve got you covered! Check out the recipe below!
1 box of gluten-free penne (or regular penne for non-gf peeps)
1 small bell pepper, diced
¾ cup diced white onion
1 cup diced Colby Jack cheese (or cheddar, if you prefer)
1 ¼ cup Ken’s Steakhouse Simply Vinaigrette Italian Dressing
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp garlic powder
⅛ tsp onion powder
1. Get a pot of salted water boiling for your pasta. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
2. While the pasta is cooking, chop up the onion, bell pepper, and cheese. I chopped the cheese into ½ inch-wide pieces, but feel free to cut it into any size you want.
3. When you drain the pasta, run it through cold water. (I know, this is usually a cooking sin, but it stops the pasta from getting mushy in the bowl when you stir it.) Dump the pasta in a mixing bowl.
4. Add in the onion, bell pepper, cheese, and salad dressing. Stir to evenly mix it all up.
5. Sprinkle in the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir again!
6. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours before serving. This allows time for the dressing to marinate the pasta salad. Letting it marinate overnight works best, but you can still make this the morning of and have a great tasting salad by lunch or dinner.
I seriously love how simple this pasta salad is to make and how perfect it is as a summer side dish. It makes me think of picnics and camping with my family. Speaking of, I’ll definitely be taking a big bowl of this pasta salad to my parent’s camp for the Fourth of July weekend! My dad will be happy because he’s been asking me to make more of it.
Let me know what you think of this recipe! Do you prefer simple pasta salads or ones that are all jazzed up with tons of ingredients? I’m a bit of a picky eater, so I clearly prefer simple. I hate picking around tomatoes, olives (cringe), salami, pepperoni, or whatever else people toss in pasta salads. But if that’s what you like, feel free to add it.
That’s the beauty of salads: You can throw in anything and you won’t mess it up. Unless you throw chocolate into this. That may mess it up. I’ll just save my chocolate for my s’mores around the campfire.
[Quick update: I almost didn’t get a picture of this pasta salad because my parents found it and started eating it. Luckily, I got to it in time! If that doesn’t tell you how good this salad is, then I don’t know what will!]
Want some more pasta dishes? Try this ground turkey and kale meat sauce recipe featuring even more gluten-free penne, or my gluten-free eggplant parmesan with spaghetti. They, too, are super easy to make, so you don’t have to expend too much energy making dinner!
Don’t forget to share and pin this for later! Happy July 4th, everyone!