Summer Pasta Salad (Recipe) - Perfect for 4th of July Parties

Today is the first official day of summer!  And the warm days of summer typically mean more excuses to get together and have barbeques, block parties and just kick back and relax with a few friends in the evenings. 

Knowing that we are going to be having family over on 4th of July, I wanted to try a new pasta salad recipe.  I used to always do a mix of rotini pasta and vegetables tossed with an Italian dressing.  Well, that's kind of boring to me these days so I did some searching and found a recipe from Southern Living that sounded like it would please a crowd.


I love the mix of colors and textures in this pasta salad... it really appeals to me and is different from other versions I've had in the past.

I served this with Smoked Baby Back Ribs when we celebrated Father's Day last week and it was overwhelmingly enjoyed.  Everyone went back for additional servings, so that tells me even more than the compliments do!

One of the things that set this salad apart from others that I've had is the addition of nuts, I used sliced almonds (the original recipe called for pine nuts)... it was like a little surprise when you'd get a bit of almond mixed in with the veggies and pasta.

The dressing is simple, but not an idea I had thought of before... you save the marinade when you drain the artichokes.  It is then combined with some mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, almonds and garlic.  Simple, right? 

I'll be making this again for the 4th of July!  What are your favorite summer side dishes to share with friends and family?

Here are some more summer potluck dishes you may want to try:
4th of July Fresh Berry Trifles from RecipeGirl
Apple Bacon Colesalw from Lynda's Recipe Box
Honey Mustard Chicken Veggie Pasta Sald from Dine and Dish
Lemonade Cake from Baked Bree
Fresh Raspberry Lemonade from What's Cookin, Chicago?

Summer Pasta Salad
Adapted from Southern Living (original recipe linked)

  • 6 ounce jar of marinated artichoke heards
  • 1 pound rotini pasta, cooked and drained
  • 7 ounces roasted red peppers, drained and cut into thin strips
  • 15 ounce can of black olives, drained
  • 1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  1. Drain the artichokes, reserving the marinade in a small bowl.  Cut the artichokes into strips and add to a large bowl.  Add the pasta, roasted red peppers, black olives and cubed mozzrella to the bowl - gently toss to combine.
  2. To the reserved marinade, add the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and almonds.  Stir to thoroughly combine.  Add to the pasta mixture and gently toss to ensure that the dressing is fully mixed throughout.
  3. Chill until ready to serve.

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Anonymous said…
That pasta salad has delicious written all over it! Are my eyes playing tricks on me? I see black olives, but don't see it as an ingredient....? Should be good with Italian dressing too!
Patsyk said…
You are so right! Thanks, for noticing that I missed the black olives in the ingredient list... I've updated the recipe to reflect them as well.

Have a great day!
Love the addition of artichoke! Will be giving this a try soon!!!
Joanne said…
I LOVE finding new pasta salad ideas! Perfect for any summer bbq!

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