Recipe Review

This Recipe Claims to Be the Perfect Pasta Salad and I Just Might Agree

published May 3, 2022
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close up of a pasta salad
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell
We Tried 4 Famous Pasta Salads and the Winner Completely Stole the Show

Springtime is officially upon us, which means the season of family barbecues, cookouts, and poolside parties with friends is here. No matter why you gather with your social circle this season, the aspect of the experience that bonds us all is the food. To this very day, I distinctly remember the smell of hot dogs fresh off the grill and the satisfying taste of grilled fish at my family’s annual cookout.

While the idea of hot dogs fresh off the grill isn’t as appealing to me nowadays due to my shift to pescatarianism, my favorite part of any summer gathering was always the side dishes like savory grilled corn, sweet baked beans, and — of course — pasta salad. And, as any fan of pasta salad knows, not all pasta salads are created equal.

Much like other side dishes you can find at cookouts and reunions (including potato salad and macaroni and cheese), you will find yourself disappointed when the wrong person makes the dish. When I saw lifestyle blogger Erin O’Brien’s (@erinnobrienn on Instagram) Perfect Pasta Recipe, however, I knew I’d stumbled upon a winner. 

This recipe is easy, customizable, and sure to be a hit whenever it appears. Start by cooking a pack of fusilli pasta using the instructions on the box. Afterward, transfer the pasta into a large bowl to mix the remaining ingredients. Next, add garbanzo beans, chopped cilantro, halved cherry tomatoes, diced red onion, diced celery, and diced bell peppers. As a cheese lover, my favorite part about this recipe is that the next step is to add both cubed and finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano along with shredded Asiago.

To wrap up the recipe, you’ll top off your pasta salad by drizzling olive oil and your favorite Italian dressing, adding salt and pepper, and — if you’re feeling spicy — adding crushed red pepper before enjoying with a nice glass of red wine as the creator herself does.

For those who love meat, you can even add some salami for additional flavor and texture. However you choose to have it though, you are sure to keep cool on any hot summer day with this delicious dish.

Erin’s full recipe for the Perfect Pasta Salad can be found here.