This is an easy pasta salad recipe, with the minimum of ingredients, that can be made in under 10 minutes. The flavours really work well together and most of the ingredients are simple store cupboard items, so you don’t have to go on an expedition to pull it together!
This is a pasta salad I make to use of half a green pepper when I’ve bought a pack of three. I tend to use the red pepper first, then the yellow one, leaving just the green pepper to be used up. For the pasta I’ve used conchigliette pasta, which is a miniature seashell-shaped pasta, but if you’ve not got that, then any pasta will do!
When you buy a pack of three peppers in a bag from the supermarket, they’ll usually last at least two weeks. You can freeze peppers, to be added to stews, but if it’s the summer then it’s a good idea to use them to provide a nice crunch to a pasta salad.
This pasta salad recipe makes 400 grams when you’ve finished, which fits neatly into a regular-sized plastic lidded takeaway box.
- 70 grams dry conchigliette pasta (if you’ve none, then either use any pasta you do have, the smaller the better, or snap up some spaghetti!)
- 50 grams cheddar cheese, grated
- 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise or salad cream (I usually use salad cream as it’s got a little extra “pop”)
- ½ a green pepper (although you can, of course, use any colour!). This is the UK name, in the US they’re termed “bell peppers”
- 1 teaspoon oil
- Pinch of salt
- Cook the pasta, with the oil and salt (oil stops it sticking together, so you can leave this out if you wish). Drain it and cool it in cold water. Give it a good shake.
- Chop up the half a green pepper into tiny pieces
- Combine the cold pasta with the cheddar and the mayonnaise/salad cream until all the pasta’s coated.
- Add the green peppers and mix through the pasta/cheese mix. You’re leaving this to the last minute so it’s not all coated with the mayo/salad cream, so more of the green bits are still exposed.
- Box up your salad in a lidded box and put it in the fridge until you want to use it.
This can be served straight away, but, as with most pasta salads, they taste better once they’re fully chilled and rested. I made this easy pasta salad just to use up the half a green pepper I had, shoved it in the fridge… an hour later I served myself a portion…. then, within 2 hours I’d eaten the whole box! This is a really nice pasta salad, using the smaller pasta it’s creamy but with that added “crunch” that the fresh peppers gives it!
How Long Will Pasta Salad Keep?
If you’ve put it in a lidded box in the fridge, then this will be fine for at least 3-4 days. Ideal as a “make ahead dish” for a BBQ or party buffet table.
Layered Pasta Salad:
While it can be served on its own, as a side dish to your plated salad, or a BBQ side dish, one great use of this pasta salad is as a layer of pasta in a layered pasta salad. Simply layer the salad items you’ve got in a bowl. One suggestion is: Salad leaves on the bottom, top with tomato/cucumber, add the layer of pasta salad, add a layer of grated carrot and top with sliced boiled eggs!
I bought the conchigliette pasta from Sainsburys, a 500 gram bag cost £0.85, so the 70 grams I used here cost about £0.12. The green pepper was one of a bag of 3, from Lidl, that cost me £0.79 (£0.59 when they are on special), so half of one of those peppers is £0.13. The cheddar is Lidl’s, costing under £5/Kg, so the cost of 50 grams is £0.25. The salad cream was Lidl’s too, at £0.65 for a large bottle (I used the Light version, to save the calories for eating cake!), so about £0.05.
Total cost: Approximately £0.55