Creamy Italian Salad

Every once in a while I have to make something in a pinch, like for an impromptu family gathering or a funeral luncheon.  Sometimes I have no idea what I’m going to make until I’m in the grocery store looking for things that would taste good together in the same bowl.  That was the case last weekend.  I knew I had pasta at home already, but I wanted to make something different than my usual cold chicken pasta salad.  I wondered how pepperoni would taste in a salad (probably good), and what other things would go with that (tomato, mozzarella….and green olives?).  Oh yes, now we’re getting somewhere.  All I needed was a simple dressing of mayo and Italian spices.

Needless to say, I was confident enough with my idea that I tried this experiment for my donated dish for a funeral luncheon.  That’s me living dangerously.  I whipped up the salad, gave it a taste and was floored.  It was even better than I expected.  I called my daughter to the kitchen to try it, after which she practically begged me not to take that dish to the church.  Aha!  Success!  I quickly wrote down the ingredients and approximate measurements so I could make this a meal for the whole family.

Below you will find the recipe amounts for my original recipe, which is a good side dish amount for the average family.  But if you have a LARGE family or just want this as the main meal, you can easily double the recipe like I did in the video.  The double batch fed our family of 6 for supper, and we had leftovers for at least a couple days after that.  (Some of us ate more than others because some of us claim to not like tomatoes.  Weirdos.)

Creamy Italian Salad

2 cups uncooked pasta

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed small (1/4 inch)

2 dozen pepperoni, quartered

1/2 cup green olives, roughly chopped

Dressing:

3/4 cup mayo (not Miracle Whip)

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

 

1.  Cook pasta according to package instructions.  While it’s cooking, you can chop other ingredients.  When pasta is done, drain and rinse it with cold water to cool it quickly and completely.  Place in a large bowl.

2.  Stir in chopped ingredients.

3.  Combine dressing ingredients and pour into the pasta mixture.  Stir well.

The salad can be covered and put in the fridge for an hour for the seasoning flavors to come to life, but it tastes good eaten right away, too.  Keep in mind that this salad was created without exact measurements, so feel free to tweak it as you see fit.

TIP:  Fresh onions, garlic, and herbs would taste great in this!  Maybe freshly chopped basil or chives for a garnish?  You could even make your own mayo!  If you like spicy food, a little cayenne or red pepper flakes would add some zip, too.

I hope you make this salad soon and enjoy it as much as we did.  Buon appetito!  🙂