UNITED STATES—When it comes to summer, nothing is more refreshing than a cool pasta salad. There are tons of varieties to consider when making the perfect pasta salad. While many suspect it’s the veggies that you choose to include or not include in the salad, I think its all about the pasta used and the dressing. For starters, there are tons of pastas that can be used.


Such pastas include spaghetti, macaroni, capellini, fusilli, gemelli, penne, rigatoni, rotini, farfalle; the list goes on and on. In my personal opinion, the trick is to utilize pasta that makes it much easier to soak up the dressing that you choose to use. Preferably, penne, rigatoni, rotini and farfalle work best. I love farfalle because of the bow-tie look that the pasta presents. Remember people always eat with their eyes. 

So that brings me to my next point, color is imperative with any good ole pasta salad. Two veggies that are a must for any pasta salad are tomatoes and cucumbers. Now the question, I get time and time again is what type of tomatoes should be used. I’m a fan of grape tomatoes which can be sliced in half and thrown into the salad.


Now lately, I’ve become a bigger fan of Roma tomatoes, I love the bright red color they produce and I like my veggies to be in small bite size pieces, they spread much more evenly in the pasta salad. Make sure you eliminate the seeds, they can be a pest.  When it comes to the cucumber, you have plenty of options; you can use an English cucumber or a seedless cucumber. I like seedless because it eliminates any unnecessary work, they also provide a great crunch and color.


Another question is rather you should keep the skin on or not? I think it’s a good idea to have a mix of both, some diced cucumbers with skin and some without the skin.  Your next ingredients should include some various peppers, green, red, and orange to be specific. Some might ask why not include yellow peppers; they don’t mesh well with the other peppers in my opinion. Dice a green, red and orange bell pepper into small cubes and include in your pasta.


Now its time for the final ingredient, the dressing! Italian dressing is a must for any pasta; it provides the perfect zing to any pasta salad, and pairs perfectly with the pasta used.  Now is time for my two secret ingredients, I mix ranch dressing with the Italian dressing to provide a sweet and sour taste to the dish.  I then added small bits of bacon to the pasta salad for a bit of crunch. Of course, people will ask rather bacon has to be added and the answer is no, you can simply pick and choose, if you want to keep things vegetarian stay away from the bacon.

The most important element of any good pasta salad is to let it chill. The longer it stays in the fridge the better and trust me people will be asking you time and time again to make that dish that everyone loves.