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Rustic Pasta Salad


After tasting a pasta salad that was catered at one of my work's luncheons, I HAD to try and figure out the recipe.  I immediately looked up the catering place online and was so excited to find a rough list of the ingredients in the description so I could try to replicate it at home.  Success!  This pasta salad is absolutely delicious and has definitely become a new family favorite.  

I have never seen or tasted a pasta salad with this combination of ingredients but it's a beautiful symphony of flavors.  Pasta, red onion, bell peppers, sundried tomatoes, olives and parmesan cheese are all added to a bowl - then poppy seed dressing is poured over everything and oh my goodness - who would have thought?!?  But it absolutely works.  

Don't let the chopped olives turn you off from trying this salad. My daughter is not an olive fan at all, but LOVES this salad.  The key is just to chop them super fine and you won't even know they are there.  Also, I know there are lots of poppy seed dressings out there, but we have tried a few and they are all so different - the Lighthouse really was the best for this, so be aware that if you change up the dressing, you may not get the same result.

Ingredients:
  • 16oz penne pasta cooked according to directions and rinsed under cold water and drained
  • 1/2 a good size red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup total red & yellow bell peppers, diced 
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes (in the bag, not in oil) finely diced
  • 1/3 cup black olives, chopped finely
  • 5oz parmesan shredded cheese
  • 1 bottle Lighthouse creamy poppy seed dressing
  • Optional, but delicious... 1/4 cup chopped pine nuts (just not something I have on hand all the time)
Instructions:
  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl, toss together and let sit covered in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  
  2. Serve.
*Photo updated May 6th, 2019



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