Labor Day Pasta Salad Creations

For many, Labor Day means an extra day off of work. For me, Labor Day signifies the closing of summer. It also presents a great opportunity to fire up the grill before the weather starts to change and enjoy a picnic with my family and friends. My family celebrates three birthdays around Labor Day so we always make it a point to use our day off to celebrate the holiday and birthdays with a picnic. Everyone brings a dish to pass and while we all spoon heaps of food onto our plates we celebrate the lives of three very special people. I always tend to resort to pasta salad as my dish to pass. One of the things that I love about pasta salad is that it is so versatile. You can pick from a huge assortment of ingredients and easily whip them together to form a delicious side dish. A favorite of mine is an Italian-style pasta salad that combines the flavors of roasted red peppers with meat and cheese. I recently tested this combination out at a family dinner and there was not even a drop of dressing left in the bowl. I really think even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy this.

Cherry Tomatoes

If you’re looking to venture out on your own and try your hand at pasta salad creations there are just a few pointers and steps to keep in mind. Obviously choosing a fun pasta shape as your base is the most important. I like to choose a shape with a lot of ridges and crevices so that the dressing and veggies get stuck inside. Next, choose 3-5 key ingredients that will be the major add-ins for your salad. Vegetables, meat & poultry, seafood or cheeses all count as a major add-in. You will also want to choose an intense flavor such as goat cheese, spicy peppers or olives. These should be used more sparingly than your major add-ins. Finally you’ll want to add in onions and lots of herbs. I tend to favor shallots as they offer a milder flavor, and I like to use a variety of different Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs. My favorite is the Instantly Fresh Salad Herb Blend because it already offers a delicious combination of herbs, garlic and onion.

If you already have Labor Day picnic plans and are looking for a dish to pass, take a stab at your own pasta salad. Fresh and roasted vegetables, olives, meats and cheeses and a drizzle of any Litehouse Vinaigrette can all come together to form a delicious side. And if you don't currently have plans for the holiday, why not start your own tradition this year by inviting your friends and family over for a picnic, asking them all to bring a dish to share? I've always held the belief that food is a good way to bring family and friends together. So is an extra day off of work.

Tuscan Herb Pasta Salad

Serves 8 | Finish in 45 minutes
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This pasta salad combines the fresh flavor of Litehouse Tuscan Herb with Lemon Vinaigrette with a few key ingredients to create the perfectly balanced pasta salad.

Ingredients

16 oz pasta

 ½ cup Litehouse® Tuscan Herb with Lemon dressing
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup mini mozzarella pearls
¼ cup diced roasted red peppers
½ cup hard salami, cut in slices
1 cup black olives
Litehouse® Instantly Fresh Basil for garnish 

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers and black olives. Add in the cook pasta and stir well to combine. Add in the mozzarella pearls, salami and tomatoes. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the ingredients and then toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the top of the salad with Instantly Fresh Basil and serve.


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