Oodles of Noodles: Part One

Hello avid readers! Once again we’re comin’ at you with recipes to share with family and friends. Pasta salads are the ultimate side dish to bring to any gathering. They’re great cold and at room temperature. With the exception of any mayo/cream based salads, these pastas can be left out on the table for all to enjoy without worry of spoilage.

I made these recipes for a recent party my family held for my mom and dad. They were celebrating their 30th (yikes!) wedding anniversary, and I thought it was the ultimate opportunity to make them. I was also able to determine the crowd favorite, as judged by my very willing participants, AKA my uncles. Additionally, as much as I and my ABQ comrades love pasta salad and gathering over a meal…three pasta salads to eat seemed a bit overwhelming and quite possibly wasteful. Read below for the recipe that was touted as the crowd favorite. 

Classic Pasta Salad

It's a classic for a reason

This is a standard pasta salad that's always a crowd pleaser, as evident by the fact that at the end of the party, there wasn’t any left.

Usually I’ll make my own vinaigrette for the pasta salad, but in the midst of getting my family home ready for the party it was easier to buy a pre-made salad dressing. There are really good quality salad dressings out there. My favorite by far (and go-to) is Brianna’s Home Style French Vinaigrette dressing. It’s perfectly tangy and great on anything from a simple green salad to this pasta salad. I always have a bottle in my fridge waiting for various applications.


  • 1lb box of Rotini pasta
  • 1lb block of cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
  • 8oz package of mini pepperoni, or regular pepperoni **
  • 1 can of sliced black olives
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4c. – 1/2c. Brianna’s French Vinaigrette


1.     Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain and rinse with cold water until pasta has cooled.

2.     Dice up, bell pepper, cheese and pepperoni (if using regular pepperoni). Strain can of black olives.

3.     Add pasta and diced bell pepper, cheese, pepperoni and olives to big mixing bowl.

4.     Add vinaigrette to mixture, starting with 1/4c. and thoroughly mix to combine. Add more vinaigrette to taste being careful to not overdress. You can always add more, but taking out the dressing is hard (learn from my experience).

**Omit pepperoni for vegetarian version.

Stay tuned for Part two of Oodles of Noodles, to find out which was the second family favorite!