Pasta Salad with Cheddar Cheese, Pepperoni, Roasted Red Peppers and Chickpeas

Pasta salad seems like such a classic summer dish to me- all you have to do basically is cook up some pasta, toss in some dressing, and some ingredients of your choice.  It is a quick meal that has only a minimal amount of time in a kitchen that can be stifling in hot weather- especially when you have the 100 degree weather we had here in Connecticut this past week- that paired with the very likely chance that we would lose power due to the intense storms that were going through the state, made this a perfect dinner- although what I would have done had the power gone out mid-pasta cooking I can’t quite say- I may have been out with my grill in the pouring rain trying to boil water.

So I know that the June issue of Bon Appetit told us to get away from cold fusilli salad- but hey- I love cold fusilli salad, and like I’ve said before- I DO WHAT I WANT!!!  Take that Bon Appetit (don’t worry I still love you).  Anyways,  I used tricolor fusilli for this pasta salad because it’s pretty, and then threw in some additions… since I was not just making it for myself, I had to think about things that my boyfriend likes to eat (which pretty much rules out all vegetables other than peppers).  I settled on cheddar cheese (because I have a massive amount of it in my fridge due to an awesome sale at Whole Foods), pepperoni, chickpeas, and roasted red peppers (got to have some kind of vegetable in there, right?).  For the dressing, I chose one that my mom has used on her pasta salad in the past, which I think is quite delicious, and that is Ina Garten’s vinaigrette for green salad- although, I of course being the rebel I am didn’t have anything resembling green in my salad- other than the spinach fusilli.  I like using a vinaigrette in pasta salad rather than a mayonnaise based dressing because that’s just how I roll.

Pasta Salad with Cheddar Cheese, Pepperoni, Roasted Red Peppers and Chickpeas

Ingredients:
1 pound pasta (I used tricolor fusilli)
4 ounces pepperoni, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 ounces Cheddar Cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch strips
1 can chickpeas, drained
Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)

Directions:
1. Cook your pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, drain.
2. Toss the pasta with the pepperoni, cheese, peppers, and chickpeas.
3. Add vinaigrette, and toss everything to combine.

Notes:

  • These are pretty rough estimates for how much of each ingredient to use.  It’s really all up to you individually- these are about the amounts I used this time, but you can do it all to taste- add more or less ingredient as you see fit.
  • Substitutions and additions are also welcome.  You can use mozzarella instead of cheddar.  Salami instead of pepperoni.  Add in some halved cherry tomatoes, or sundried tomatoes, or cucumber, or sauteed zucchini or summer squash.  Add what you personally like!
Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette 

Ingredients:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
3 tbsp Champagne vinegar (or other wine vinegar- red or white)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 cup olive oil
Directions:
1. In small bowl, whisk together mustard, garlic vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified.

Notes:
  • I used red wine vinegar for my dressing because I didn’t have any Champagne vinegar on hand and it was still perfectly delicious.
  • This vinaigrette is originally for a green salad, which you can obviously do as well, but I love the way it pairs with a pasta salad.  If serving with a green salad, it will make enough for 6-8 servings.
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2 thoughts on “Pasta Salad with Cheddar Cheese, Pepperoni, Roasted Red Peppers and Chickpeas

  1. I will definetely put this on my menu for next week! It looks simple and delicious and since we are so busy packing it will be perfect! Maybe the 4 cheese bread will be on sale next week at whole foods,I think that be go great with it. Or maybe some garlic bread? The salad looks really pretty in that bowl too πŸ™‚

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