Favorite Summertime Salad Recipe

30 Jul 2021
Favorite Summertime Salad Recipe

Every family has a favorite summertime salad recipe. With increasingly frequent heatwaves making it too hot for a lot of heavy meals, cold salads are a great alternative. Summer gatherings of family and friends are returning. You need a perfect dish to add to a potluck barbeque. Whatever the occasion, we have you covered.

What You Need on the Shopping List

The quick shopping list includes:

  • pasta noodles (we like Rotini or Radiatore, but shells work great too)
  • a can or two of veggies (we like a three- or four-bean mix, but peas are cool too)
  • Salad dressing (vinaigrettes work well here, whipped salad dressing, or plain mayonnaise)
  • Seasonings
  • Chopped onion, peppers, celery, or other favorites
  • Canned chicken or prepared shredded chicken (totally optional)

The base salad is pasta and veggies. What you do from there is completely up to you. In fact, you can prepare this salad all summer with a different variation each week. Select ingredients that your family enjoys.

Adaptability is the name of the game. Use your imagination and your taste buds and don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavor combinations. This recipe is braces-friendly!

Our Favorite Summertime Salad Recipe

The neat thing about this recipe is that you can make a little or a lot. It can also be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days if you don’t mix the salad dressing in until your serve it (more on that later).

Start by cooking your pasta according to the package directions. Once cooked, run cool water over it. This stops the cooking process to keep the noodles firmer.

You can boil raw boneless chicken breasts in seasonings if you prefer that to canned chicken (we do). Boil for at least 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly (longer for larger breasts). We allow it to cool completely, then pop it in a zippered baggie and smoosh (yes, that is a word, honest) it up to a shredded consistency. It can also be chopped into chunks if your family prefers it that way.

In a separate bowl, combine your raw ingredients (onions, peppers, chopped celery — whatever you decide to add). Drain the veggies (you can rinse them too if you prefer). Dump the veggies into the bowl and fold them together with the raw, chopped veggies. If you are adding shredded chicken, it goes in the bowl too. Add the drained, cooled pasta last (we add ours after we season everything) and fold it all together.

Add seasoning to taste. We like some onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, an all-season salt mix, and a rotisserie blend. Thyme and sage are also good additions. When we said this salad is adaptable, we weren’t kidding. Depending on what seasonings you select, this can also be a fairly low-sodium solution for special diets.

Adapt It to Suit Your Family

So far we have a colorful bowl of cold veggies and pasta. You could eat it that way, or you can dress it up a bit. We usually make huge batches, so we store it in the fridge in a zippered baggie with no dressing. It can be mixed in single-serving batches from there. Everyone can have something different!

One of our favorite dressings is plain whipped salad dressing with a dash of coleslaw dressing. If you have a plain mayonnaise fan in the family — they can have their salad with just mayo.

Try a rich vinaigrette dressing to lightly coat the salad ingredients. We have also used creamy Italian, ranch, Catalina, and several other types of “standard” salad dressing. Whatever combination we have tried, we haven’t found anything that doesn’t taste great. Although we haven’t tried ketchup yet… you can venture there if you like.

We Hope You Enjoyed Our Recipe!

This is our favorite summertime salad recipe and is the most versatile salad option for summer. Keeping this salad in your fridge gives the kids a quick, healthy alternative to junk food. When your family has busy summer schedules, no set meal times, and outdoor gatherings, this is a great option.

We hope you try our salad recipe, add your own twist to it, and enjoy your summer!

If you haven’t made your summer orthodontist checkup appointment — now is the time. Contact Wilmington Orthodontics to schedule your appointment. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Instagram pages!