With all the backyard parties, barbecues and picnics in summer, pasta salads tend to go into heavy rotation. And with good reason.
Pasta salads are quick and easy to make and can be prepped way in advance. They also are easily adapted to cater to whatever flavors you favor. This version adds some bright, colorful veggies to wagon wheel pasta, but feel free to substitute whichever vegetables and pasta you prefer.
We've also added the meat (shredded) from a rotisserie chicken; this saves time and keeps you from having to heat up the kitchen to roast your own. You also could leave out the chicken for a vegetarian version, or use cut-up ham or small shrimp in its place.
1 pound wagon wheel pasta
30-ounce rotisserie chicken
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and diced
1 orange bell pepper, cored and diced
1 cup snow pea pods, halved lengthwise
1 apple, cored and diced
1 cup grapes, halved
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Zest of 1/2 orange
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
Drain the pasta, then transfer to a paper- or kitchen towel- lined rimmed baking sheet. Set aside to cool and dry for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the meat from the chicken, then use your fingers or 2 forks to shred and pull it apart.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, both bell peppers, snow peas, apple, grapes and scallions.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, mustard, orange zest, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. When the pasta has cooled, add it to the bowl with the veggies and chicken, then toss to combine.
Add the dressing and stir to coat. Sprinkle with the almonds, if using.
Nutrition information per serving: 387 calories; 106 calories from fat (27 percent of total calories); 12g fat (2g saturated; 0g trans fats); 66mg cholesterol; 46g carbohydrate; 26g protein; 3g fiber; 452mg sodium.