Pasta salad is an American favorite and almost always the potluck staple dish. There is one at nearly every dinner party, back yard barbecue, work party, or other event, which makes sense since it’s so easy to toss together and goes with nearly everything.
It also happens to almost always look exactly the same; you know what I’m talking about: the one with tricolored pasta, tossed in an Italian dressing, a few tiny chopped vegetables, some cheese, and maybe some pepperoni. While there is nothing wrong with this coveted classic version of pasta salad, too often more than one of them shows up at the same party, totally negating the variety on the buffet table. While this dish is totally enjoyable, it can get a bit overdone.
That’s why we really love to come up with some unique pasta salad recipe ideas that are just as easy as the old standby but with bold flavors and fresh seasonal ingredients — like this Arugula + Walnut Pasta Picnic Salad recipe. It’s an easy way to impress your friends and experiment with new flavors as well as ensure that your dish isn’t just like everyone else’s. It’s also a great way to use up whatever you have hanging out around the fridge when the weekend comes, giving those ingredients a new life before they go to waste.
This particular pasta salad recipe is perfect for a spring or summer get together. Bite-sized shaped pasta is used as the base, and the peppery arugula is balanced by the bright and crisp red pepper; the dish is rounded out by the tangy mozzarella balls. An extra layer of intrigue is added with the addition of chopped walnuts, and the whole dish is brought together with a simple Greek style vinaigrette that lends itself beautifully to the other ingredients. Altogether, this is a bright and fresh pasta salad that anyone is sure to love.
Arugula + Walnut Pasta Picnic Salad
- 1 (16 oz) package bite size pasta
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Pinch of salt
- 1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 (8 oz) package mozzarella balls
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
Prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Allow to cool.
In a large bowl combine the garlic, oregano, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Stir well.
Add the cooled pasta, pepper, mozzarella, walnuts, and arugula to the bowl. Toss well to coat, then serve.