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Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad

Tempting Twist: Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad

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Indulge in the ultimate fusion of two beloved classics with Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad, a delightful dish that combines the flavors of pizza with the convenience of a pasta salad. Bursting with vibrant colors and bold flavors, this recipe is perfect for picnics, potlucks, or weeknight dinners. With its tantalizing blend of pasta, cheese, pepperoni, and zesty Italian dressing, it’s sure to be a hit with family and friends. Let’s embark on a culinary adventure and learn how to create this mouthwatering Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 oz.) package rotini pasta (tri-color, optional), cooked and drained
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 oz. sliced pepperoni
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Cook the Pasta:

  • Cook the rotini pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold

water to stop the cooking process. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large mixing bowl.

2. Prepare the Ingredients:

  • Cube the mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese.
  • Halve the cherry tomatoes.
  • Slice the pepperoni into thin rounds.
  • Grate the parmesan cheese.

3. Assemble the Salad:

  • Add the cubed mozzarella and cheddar cheese, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced pepperoni, and grated parmesan cheese to the bowl with the cooked pasta.

4. Prepare the Dressing:

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Toss the Salad:

  • Pour the dressing over the pasta and other ingredients in the bowl. Gently toss until everything is evenly coated with the dressing.

6. Chill and Serve:

  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Before serving, give the salad a final toss to redistribute the dressing and ingredients.

7. Enjoy:

  • Serve the Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad chilled as a delicious side dish or main course. Garnish with additional grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Add More Veggies: Enhance the nutritional value of the salad by adding additional vegetables such as bell peppers, black olives, or red onions.
  • Customize the Cheese: Experiment with different types of cheese to suit your taste preferences. Provolone, feta, or gouda can be delicious alternatives to mozzarella and cheddar.
  • Make It Spicy: For an extra kick of heat, add diced jalapeños or crushed red pepper flakes to the salad.
  • Add Protein: Boost the protein content of the salad by adding cooked and chopped grilled chicken, salami, or cooked bacon.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

Q: Can I use gluten-free pasta for this recipe? A: Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta to make this recipe gluten-free. Follow the cooking instructions on the package and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Q: Can I make this salad ahead of time? A: Yes, you can prepare the Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad ahead of time. Store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Give it a stir before serving to redistribute the dressing.

Q: Is there a way to make this salad healthier? A: To make the salad healthier, you can use whole wheat or whole grain pasta, reduce the amount of cheese or use low-fat cheese options, and increase the proportion of vegetables in the salad.

Q: Can I make a vegetarian version of this salad? A: Yes, you can make a vegetarian version of the salad by omitting the pepperoni or replacing it with vegetarian pepperoni or other meat substitutes.

Keto-Friendly Version:

For a keto-friendly version of Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad, substitute the rotini pasta with cooked and cooled cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles. Use full-fat cheese and opt for a low-carb Italian dressing or make your own using olive oil, vinegar, and Italian seasoning. Ensure all other ingredients are keto-friendly and low in carbohydrates.

Low-Carb Variation:

To make a low-carb variation, use a low-carb pasta alternative such as shirataki noodles or konjac pasta. Replace high-carb ingredients like cherry tomatoes with diced bell peppers or cucumber. Use a low-carb Italian dressing or make your own with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs. Limit the amount of cheese and opt for lighter cheese options.

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

In conclusion, Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad is a crowd-pleasing dish that combines the flavors of pizza with the convenience of a pasta salad. With its vibrant colors, bold flavors, and customizable ingredients, it’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue, packing a picnic, or simply craving a delicious meal, this recipe is sure to satisfy. So, gather your ingredients and whip up a batch of Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad for a flavorful and satisfying dining experience!

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