What could be more patriotic than a red, white, and blue pasta salad at your Memorial Day or 4th of July barbecue? Serve a simple, classic pasta salad and an all-American side dish when you make Patriotic Pasta Salad!
Easy to make Patriotic Pasta Salad is a perfect summertime side!
When I made Chicken Strips with Neon Pasta for our youngest grandson I didn’t think about all the possibilities. Margaret, from Soul Food mentioned that the colored pasta would also work for holidays like the 4th of July and Christmas. So, in her honor, I made Patriotic Pasta Salad.
It’s really just the classic pasta salad with Italian dressing but the pasta is dyed red and blue. The white is just the pasta you don’t color.
Use what you like!
I used red, green, and yellow peppers in the dish. Because I love them I also added cucumbers. This time I didn’t include onions because Pete’s youngest doesn’t like them. Tomatoes were left out because Pete and his daughter don’t like them. Killjoys. And I didn’t have any black olives which I usually include in the pasta salad. But it was delicious all the same!
The pasta seemed a little washed out to me so I recommend using only 1 tablespoon of water and 30 drops of the red and the blue food coloring. Just cook the pasta (I used rotini) al dente and immediately run it under ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Drain it and set aside.
Next time I’ll use less water and more food coloring for bolder colors.
While the pasta is cooking pour 1 tablespoon of water into each of two plastic seal-able bags. Add 30 drops of red food coloring to one bag and 30 drops of blue food coloring to the other.
Divide the cooled pasta into three batches. Keep one to be the white in your red, white, and blue salad. Place 1/3 of the pasta in the bag with the red coloring and 1/3 into the bag with the blue coloring. Gently move it around so all the pasta in the bags gets colored. Then just let it sit for a few minutes.
Make it fancy if you want!
Rinse the excess food coloring off and drain well. If you want to be really fancy with your Patriotic Pasta Salad you can keep the colors separate and mix the vegetables and dressing in each color. Then line the pastas up next to each other in a large, deep dish so you have a red section, a white section, and a blue section. I was fighting with my sprained foot so I just mixed them all up.
For one pound of pasta I used 1 cup of Zesty Italian Dressing, 1/3 cup each of red, yellow, and green bell peppers. I sliced then quartered a cup of cucumber because we really like it. When I include onions I usually use about 1/3 cup diced. I’m a black olive lover so I normally put in about 1/2 cup. My son and his youngest daughter don’t like tomatoes but you may want to thinly slice about a cup of cherry or grape tomatoes and add them.
Patriotic Pasta Salad is a familiar taste with a colorful new look!
Patriotic Pasta Salad
Be the star of your next summer gathering with tasty Patriotic Pasta Salad with its bold patriotic colors!
- 1 pound rotini pasta (or your choice of pasta)
- 30 drops red food coloring
- 30 drops blue food coloring
- 2 tablespoons water, divided
- 1/3 cup green pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup red pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup yellow pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup cucumber, sliced then quartered
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced thin
- 1 cup Zesty Italian dressing
- Salt to taste
- Boil a pot of well salted water
- Cook pasta until al dente
- Rinse pasta immediately under very cold water
- Drain pasta and set aside
- In a zip lock plastic bag pour 1 tablespoon water and add 30 drops red food coloring.
- Using a separate bag pour the remaining tablespoon water and 30 drops of blue food coloring
- Set aside 1/3 of the cooled pasta
- Put 1/3 of the pasta in the bag with the red food coloring and 1/3 in the bag with the blue food coloring
- Seal the bags and gently move the pasta around to make sure it is all coated in the food coloring
- Let the pasta sit in the bags for several minutes then rinse separately under cold water to remove excess food coloring
- Add 1/3 of the vegetables and 1/3 of the Zesty Italian dressing and salt to taste to each color pasta and toss gently to combine
- In a large, deep dish lay out the red pasta in a stripe, then the white pasta, then the blue pasta for a red, white, and blue display.