The dog days of summer are here.
It is too hot to walk. Too hot to move. Too hot to cook.
Well, maybe there’s a little time to cook.
If you need to bring a salad to a summer barbecue or are just looking to change up your summer cooking repertoire, I found two super-duper easy pasta salad recipes. These can be eaten as a side dish or because they both have veggies and protein, they make a great meal if paired with a green salad.
As many of your know, I am a fan of simple recipes with as few ingredients as possible. The first recipe has just four ingredients, and the second has seven (not counting salt and pepper). Get ready to wow whoever eats these!
Caprese Pasta Salad
I found this on a beautiful blog called The Recipe Critic. Alyssa Rivers is a Utah-based food blogger. Just looking at her Pinterest-worthy recipes is enough to make you want to lick your screen. Check out her take on a classic Caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, basil, and fresh tomatoes).
- 8 oz. pasta (I used cellentani)
- 1 cup (8 oz.) small fresh mozzarella balls
- 2 cups (10.5 oz.) grape tomatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons pesto
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook and drain your pasta according to package directions. Drain with cold water and set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine pasta, basil pesto, grape tomatoes, and mozzarella balls. Toss together until it is coated in the basil pesto.
Serves 4-6 people.
I wolfed this down in two sittings. It is easy-peasy to do. Although Rivers gives a recipe for homemade pesto in the original recipe, I am lazy and used store-bought pesto. I can use it again for sandwiches, pasta, meat, etc.
20-Minute BLT Pasta Salad
Baker by Nature is another mind-blowing food blog. Ashley Manila cranks out decadent photography and damn easy recipes. Look at this BLT salad you can nosh on all year round! (Note: The original recipe is HUUUUUGE so I halved it here.)
- 8 ounces bow tie pasta
- 1/2 cup zesty Italian salad dressing
- 1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
- 1/2 pound thick cut bacon, fried until crispy then cut into strips (I used salad bacon bits to save time, but they didn’t work well after they soaked in the dressing. Real is best here.)
- 1 large ripe tomato, diced
- 5 leaves of crispy romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
- Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cool.
- While the water is coming to a boil, heat a skillet over medium heat; add bacon strips, and cook until crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Place cooled pasta in a large serving bowl; set aside.
- In a small bowl combine zesty Italian dressing and ranch, mix well. Add dressing to pasta and toss well to coat pasta.
- Add bacon, tomato, and onion to the pasta bowl, mix well to combine, and season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve at once, or chill until needed.
- Add romaine right before serving, or else it will get soggy and gross.
There were no leftovers when I made this for my family. Like I said, real bacon is best because my real bacon bits didn’t hold up in the soggy dressing. But I like it even better than BLT sandwiches. There, I said it.
Both of these recipes are super easy and guaranteed to wow you or your guests. I loved them, and you will too!
What is your favorite summer salad? Comment below!