Summer pasta salad dish

This summer pasta salad is easy to make.

While most people are preoccupied with the main course for events, it could be argued that the side dishes are often just as or more important for the overall experience of a meal.

We are in the thick of summer with Independence Day outings and other barbecue festivities taking place, and the menu is usually the focus of any good get-together. Macaroni and potato salad dishes tend to be favored for such occasions, but you can never go wrong with a colorful pasta salad.

Here’s one that is simple and delicious to take to any summer gathering — feel free to adjust the mix-ins according to your taste or what’s in your fridge.


Tri-color penne pasta (or any pasta of your choosing)

Olive Garden dressing or a vinaigrette

Bell peppers (multiple, of different colors, just for presentation)


Cheese cubes

Jar of artichoke hearts

One bag of mini pepperonis


The first step is to make sure your water comes to a boil on the stove, then add in your pasta, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. From there, it’s best to pour your noodles into a colander to drain and cool.

As you wait for your pasta to cool, take a few minutes to prepare your toppings/mix-ins, such as the olives, cheese cubes or whatever else your heart desires.

Once the pasta has cooled, toss in your favorite additional garnish, mixing completely to give a balanced effect with each bite. Add your dressing of choice, and you are free to enjoy a bowl for yourself, or take with you to that family potluck.