I'm posting a series of picnic-themed posts this week in honor of the Portland Bloggers' family picnic that is happening this weekend. The first post was all about fun picnic supplies to make for a pleasant picnic in the park (or wherever). Now, onto the food!\
One of my favorite things to make for a picnic is my super easy and delicious pasta salad. It doesn't have any name that I know of... I learned it from word of mouth from a friend and have been making it ever since. It doesn't have any mayo so it is pretty heat friendly. You can add in things or take them out as you like. I'll share the base recipe I use and then one of my favorite modifications!
A Super Easy and Delicious Pasta Salad
Serves a whole bunch of people... I really can't even estimate well, but over 12 side dish portions.
- Approximately 6 cups of tortellini (You can decide the filling, I typically go with cheese filling or half cheese and half spinach)
- 1 16oz bag of frozen peas and carrots
- 1 bottle of your favorite Italian dressing— I've used everything from Wishbone to Olive Garden. My favorite is Newman's Own Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Italian Dressing (Affiliate Link)
- 1 bag of shredded parmesan cheese— approximately 5 to 8 oz of cheese will be used. I sometimes shred my own. I sometimes get it in a bag. The pictured KRAFT Shredded Italian Cheese Mixture (Affiliate Link) would work nicely as well.
- Boil the tortellini as you would any pasta— tortellini tends to float to the top when done. I always give it a taste test to check for sure.
- Pour the frozen peas and carrots into a colander and put in sink while the tortellini is boiling.
- Pour the finished pasta and boiling water into the colander after the pasta is al dente. The hot water will cook the veggies!
- Rinse with cool water until the whole mess of yummy food is cool.
- Pour in a BIG bowl.
- Then add up to 1 full bottle of dressing (to taste, I typically use 1/2 to 3/4 a bottle) and the parmesan cheese to taste (I usually use the whole bag)
- Cool and enjoy!
See, so easy! Now, here is my most recent modification. I used all of the above ingredients, but I added diced ham and chives at the end! One of the best things about this recipe is you can make it as simple or as gourmet as you want. If you want to go supremely foodie on this picnic favorite then get some fresh tortellini, make your own Italian dressing, grate your own super nice parmesan, and add in some prosciutto.
A great way to serve this dish is to just put them in individual canning jars. The jars can be the food storage containers and double as dinnerware.
Want some more awesome pasta salad ideas? Check out my friend Bee's Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Sun-dried Tomatoes
or Rebekah's Six-Ingredient or Less Greek-ish Pasta Salad
What food do you love bringing to a picnic?