Company Pasta Salad with Veggies
If you’re looking for a simple and flavorful pasta salad recipe to feed a crowd then you’ve found the perfect option in Company Pasta Salad. Featuring fresh vegetables, fun pasta shapes, and a classic dressing, no picnic or party is complete without this fuss-free side dish on your table. Use this recipe as a roadmap and then customize to include fresh vegetables and herbs, a different flavor dressing, or another shape of pasta.
My mother makes the BEST pasta salad and even though I’ve tried really hard to recreate hers in this recipe, I still don’t know if I did it justice. Granted, she gave me the roadmap for her recipe so I’m hopeful that it will taste similar with its own unique characteristics. You know though, there’s just something about food that someone else makes for you that just has that special dose of love that you can literally taste that can’t always be recreated. At least that is how I feel when I eat any of my mom’s recipes–spaghetti sauce, soup, etc. Maybe this pasta salad recipe (that feeds a small army btw) will be yours for someone else.
Today, some of the mothers from Frances and Ellie’s Mother’s Day Out program and I wanted to treat the sweet teachers that so lovingly and selflessly care for our children each day to a homemade lunch. Because this pasta salad recipe makes around 25 cups (give or take a few depending on which vegetables you include, the size of your pasta, etc.), I thought I would include it as part of the menu.
4 Reasons Why I Love Company Pasta Salad
The great things about this recipe is that it can be made ahead, feeds a crowd, is easily adapted, and is very affordable. Let me quickly break down why…
Make ahead: Prepare the recipe the day before and let it sit in the fridge to marinate. This isn’t required but I always find it tastes better the next day.
Feeds a crowd: The more goodies you add, the bigger the pasta salad gets! This particular recipe makes 25 cups but add another chopped bell pepper, some chopped carrots, and some olives and we’re up to 26 cups.
Easily adapted: Based on what veggies are about to go bad in your fridge, which noodles you have on-hand, and if you want this to be a side or a main dish allows you to customize the recipe to your liking. Consider this recipe a roadmap that you can use as a jumping off point for your favorite ingredients. To make this pasta salad a main dish, add pulled chicken or steamed shrimp. Mom always makes hers with shrimp (and I always stand above the bowl, pick them out, and eat them!)
Affordable: In-season produce and noodles are both very inexpensive, especially if you grow your own veggies. Use what you have on-hand versus buying ingredients exactly as called for here.
- 28-ounces uncooked pasta (*I used a 16-oz box of corkscrew & a 12-oz bag of tortellini)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 (12-oz) jar artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin, 1-inch long slices
- ¼ medium sweet onion, cut into fine slivers
- 1 (8-oz) block cheddar cheese, cubed
- ⅓ cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1 (12-oz) bottle Champagne vinaigrette*
- 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 bunch basil, chopped
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- While pasta cooks, prepare vegetables and cheddar cheese then toss together in a very large bowl or serving container. (Note the yield so plan accordingly.)
- Once pasta has cooled, add pasta to bowl with other ingredients. Toss together.
- Whisk together dressing and Dijon mustard. Using a large spoon (or your hands), toss ingredients together. Refrigerate at least one hour (or overnight). Stir in basil before serving.
- *Note that I used T. Marzetti Champagne Vinaigrette but Ghirard's is also a favorite. My mom swears by Marie's Creamy Italian as a delicious option.
Do you have a favorite recipe to feed a crowd? Share it with me here! I know we’ll be having lake gatherings with friends over the summer so I’ll be looking for recipes that make large portions.
More of my summer favorite recipes