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Red, White, & Blue Pasta Salad

Can you believe summer's almost half-over? It feels like summer hasn't even begun yet, where is the sun? The 4th of July is just around the corner... what a perfect reason to get together with friends & family! With an over-abundance of red, white, & blue desserts (I don't know how many variations of a flag cake I can handle...), I decided to share a savory red, white, & blue recipe. This weekend, we had my husband's family out to visit. We had tons of fun activities planned - swimming pool, splash pad in the park, the drive-in movie theater. However, with all the rain, we ended up spending a majority of the time inside watching movies. Still a great time! We did brave the rain and fired up the grill for lunch with our favorite Chief Smokehouse beer brats. I served up this fabulous Red, White, & Blue Pasta Salad as a side to go with the brats, and it was enjoyed by everyone.   IMG_4275   It's a tangy pasta salad, with a light garlic balsamic dressing. The red comes from halved grape tomatoes, the white from the pasta, and the blue from crumbled blue cheese. (I know... stretching it a bit? I thought blueberries might be a little too strange.) It's a cinch to make... especially because you can make it ahead of time to avoid that crazed last minute prep work for a potluck or party. Start with the pasta. You can use any type of small pasta that you want; I went with the bow ties. Cook the pasta until al dente; then, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Combine the pasta with halved grape tomatoes, some green onions, blue cheese, and a few pieces of cooked & crumbled bacon. (Everything's better with bacon, am I right?)   [caption id="attachment_2827" align="aligncenter" width="448"]IMG_4268 I waited until the last minute to add the bacon so it would stay crisp.[/caption]   Then, for the dressing. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, minced garlic, cajun seasoning, and salt & pepper.  

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  Simply pour it over the pasta salad, and stir to combine. Keep the salad in the fridge until it's time to eat!  

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  The leftovers also make a great main dish meal when combined with leftover grilled chicken pieces or grilled steak. Yum.   IMG_4273 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Red, White, & Blue Pasta Salad Servings/Yield: 8-10 servings
  • 8-oz bowtie pasta
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • For the dressing
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cajun seasoning
Method Prepare noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water; transfer to a large bowl. Add green onions, tomatoes, bleu cheese, and bacon. For dressing, whisk together oil, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Store in refrigerator. Source: adapted from Taste of Home

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