Friday, April 23, 2010

Pasta Salad For a Crowd

My mom doesn't always enjoy cooking, but she gave me some valuable training when I was growing up about making summer salads. When I was beginning to cook on my own, she told me, "Add mayo, pickles, and boiled eggs (and maybe a little mustard) to just about anything to make a great summer salad." And she's right. Think about it. Add those things to potatoes, you get potato salad. Add them to tuna or chicken or ham and you get the corresponding salad. Come to think of it, just serve mayo, pickles, and boiled eggs and you can have egg salad or deviled eggs; take your pick. And, of course, add them to your favorite pasta, and you have a great pasta salad.
But as I've told you before, I pretty much have to tweak any recipe, even if it isn't written down.
So here's my suggestion for "Pasta Salad For a Crowd"
32 oz. pasta (bow tie, shell, or elbow are my favorites)
8 boiled eggs
2 jars diced pickles (or the equivalent, if you're chopping your own)
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped and rinsed
3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 1/2 cups (+/-) mayo (light works well)
I really have no idea how much mayo to put in because I always just add mayo until it looks right. I would start with a 1/2 cup and add up from there if I were you. It's going to take a lot, though. Another suggestion is to add mayo mixed with Italian dressing or olive oil, and again, you'll just have to add until it's right for you.
2 T Italian seasoning
1 t garlic
(and whatever else you feel like adding at the time)
You can also swap out the pickles for green olives (my favorite) or use broccoli instead of the pickles and peppers.
All in all, it's really hard to mess this salad up and it makes A LOT! My problem is that I make too much for the crowd, and then we have to eat it for dinner every night for a few days after the party. I like it, but the rest of the family definitely gets tired of it!
Linked to Only the Good on Friday,Frugal Friday, Finer Things Friday, I'm Loving It, and Cooking for a Crowd.


  1. This just may be what I bring to fellowship group on Sunday. :) Thanks!

  2. Sounds really yummy!!
    Thanks for linking up to I'm Lovin' It!

  3. Love pasta salad, and that you’ve used yellow and red sweet bell peppers. Having a batch in the refrigerator, ready for eating is a quick, colorful, value-packed meal. To keep the family interested, make half with mayo and half with vinaigrette. Same dish, big flavor difference. Or you can substitute basmati rice for the pasta, or marinated artichoke hearts for the pickle. The marinade can be used as a base for the dressing in the next salad. Boost the fiber & color content by adding black or red beans. I love to use Peruvian rotisserie chicken, leftovers from dining out, for a flavor punch. With summer coming, we can never have too many salads.

  4. Yum! Who doesn't love a good pasta salad? THanks for participating in the 4 Moms "Cooking For a Crowd" carnival!

  5. I add crumbled feta and sliced green olives to my pasta salad - also a bit of chili (non-hot) powder. I use a bottled creamy greek salad dressing, but italian works great too. I often make up a batch of this and eat it for lunches all week in the summer.