Creamy Sausage & Veggie Pasta Salad
Once summer hits, the bbq’s start, and when the bqq’s start, the pasta salad starts rolling.
I think i’ve been a pasta salad “expert” since i was in the 7th grade. I kid you not, i used to be the queen of the pasta salad amongst my friends. I used to always bring around a crab and veggie pasta salad (i promise this recipe will come), and it was bomb, if i do say so myself. My trick has always been the dressing. I dont care what you put in a pasta salad, but if the dressing ain’t right, yo dish ain’t right. It’s true, i said it. So here are my thoughts on a proper pasta salad.
dont skimp on the veggies you include, and make sure to chop your veggies into decently small pieces. No one wants a half of a bell pepper to chew on.
pick a protein. this is not exclusive to meats. You can add beans, too, but it’s always nice for a pasta salad to have a protein addition.
dress your pasta salad well. If you’ve added your dressing and it seems a bit much for the ingredients. Dont fret. Remember, you’ve added pasta and a sauce… the pasta WILL do some spongey absorption.
ALWAYS chill your pasta salad before serving. Dont care if you dont have time. Do it. No one wants a warm pasta with a warm sauce and soggy veggies. Just dont do that.
cook your pasta properly before adding it to the salad. When i say properly, i mean al dente. You want your pasta to have a bite because it’s about to soak in all of those yummy juices from the dressing. If you over cook your pasta, you’re going to have a mushy pasta salad. Yuck. I cook my elbow pasta for about 7-8 minutes. That’s it. Salted, boiling water, pasta, 7-8 minutes. DONE. remove from heat, strain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
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Total Time: 25 minutes cook time, 20 minutes chill time
Yield: 5 servings
for the salad
1. 1 lb of brussel sprouts sliced in half
2. 2 tbsp olive oil
3. 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4. 2 sausages of your liking, sliced into bite sized pieces
5. 1 1/2 cups of marinated artichokes, sliced into small pieces
6. 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in quarters
7. 3 cups uncooked pasta
8. 1 small avocado, cubed (or 1/2 of a large avocado, cubed)
9. 2 green onions, diced
for the dressing
1. 2 tbsp dijon mustard
2. 1/4 cup olive oil
3. 1/4 cup mayo
4. Juice of 1/2 of a lime
4. 1 tsp salt
5. 1 tsp herb de provence
6. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1. Heat a large skillet and place your 2 tbsp olive oil. Allow oil to heat well and then add your brussel sprouts in, letting them sear and create a crust. Do not overcook in this step or they will burn so keep flipping them and tossing them until all sides touch the pan. Once youv’e been cooking them for about 4 minutes, add your balsamic vinegar, a splash of water and salt & black pepper to taste. The liquid will quickly evaporate and cook the brussel sprouts until slightly tender. Do not worry about making sure they are soft and cooked well. The key is to have a light crunch to them when you bite in. It adds a wonderful texture to the salad, trust me here!
2. Cook your pasta by bringing a pot of water to boil and seasoning it with salt, generously. Add your pasta in once the water has boiled and keep the heat on medium. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until al dente and they still have a bite. Once they’ve completed cooking, remove from heat immediately, drain, and run under cold water so the pasta stops cooking. Set aside and allow to cool while you combine your other ingredients. Make your dressing while the pasta cooks.
3. To make your dressing add all of the ingredients into a bottle (easy mixing because you just shake it) OR, in a bowl that you can whisk well in. Whisk or shake until all of the ingredients are fully combined.
4. Combine your brussel sprouts, sausage, artichokes, tomatoes, avocados and green onions in a large salad bowl with your cooled pasta, add your dressing, toss and set in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. Remove from the fridge and serve once chilled properly! Enjoy!