Layered Pasta Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Pasta Layer:
    • 3 cups rotini or bowtie pasta
    • Salt (for boiling water)
  • Vegetable Layer:
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 cup cucumber, diced
    • 1 cup bell peppers (red, yellow, or green), diced
    • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • Cheese and Protein Layer:
    • 1 cup mozzarella balls or cubes
    • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
    • 1 cup cooked and diced chicken breast or ham (optional)
  • Dressing Layer:
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Topping:
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.
    • Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to cool it down. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the Vegetables:
    • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Halve the cherry tomatoes, dice the cucumber and bell peppers, and thinly slice the red onion.
  3. Make the Dressing:
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper until smooth and well combined.
  4. Assemble the Salad:
    • In a large, clear salad bowl or trifle dish, start with a layer of pasta.
    • Next, add a layer of the mixed vegetables.
    • Follow with a layer of mozzarella balls and crumbled feta cheese. If using, add the diced chicken breast or ham.
    • Pour the dressing over the top, spreading it evenly to cover the entire salad.
  5. Finish and Chill:
    • Sprinkle the top with chopped fresh parsley or basil and grated Parmesan cheese.
    • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld together.
  6. Serve:
    • Before serving, gently mix the salad to distribute the dressing throughout.
    • Serve chilled and enjoy your refreshing, layered pasta salad!

Tips:

  • Feel free to customize the vegetables and protein according to your preferences.
  • This salad can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, making it a great option for parties or potlucks.
  • For a lighter version, you can use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and sour cream.

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