Create Your Own: Pasta Salad

By: Cooking Channel

Learn the basic elements of a pasta salad and then mix and match to create a recipe tailored to your tastebuds:

Pasta

Experiment with shapes such as orecchiette, penne, or radiator, cooked al dente.

Vegetables

Choose one or two complimentary types and be sure to cut them into bite-size pieces roughly the same size as the pasta shape.

Sauce

Dress with a sauce, and don’t skimp. Pasta will absorb some of the sauce. A simple vinaigrette, a dressed up mayonnaise, a doctored salad dressing or a flavored oil and a squirt of lemon juice are nice.

Cheese

Optional but common. Try one of these: Parmesan, aged Cheddar, crumbled feta or blue.

Herbs

Try parsley, cilantro, basil, oregano or thyme.

Onion

Red, white, sweet, chives, shallots, garlic, ramps or scapes, either raw or pickled.

Nuts

Optional. Pine nuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts make great additions to a pasta salad.

Capers, Olives, Pickled Vegetables

Used occasionally, these ingredients add sharpness and brininess.

Meat

Slivered ham, sliced salami, crumbled bacon or diced pancetta add heft to your pasta salad.

©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Now that you know the basics, start experimenting! And if you want a place to start, below are our favorite pasta salad recipes.

Cooking Channel's Best Pasta Salad Recipes:
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