Summer Pasta Salad #glutenfree #caseinfree

This summer pasta salad reminds me of my mom and summer and neighborhood block parties growing up.  It was her go-to signature potluck dish, which probably came off the back of a bottle of Kraft Italian salad dressing.  ?

Regardless, it was always a hit and so simple to make.  Just cooked pasta, avocado, sliced pepperoni and classic Italian dressing!  Tossed together and chilled before serving.  That’s it!

My husband loves it.  There is just something about that combo that is really decadent and it’s kinda hard to stop eating it.

Over the years, I’ve added various ingredients like roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts, roasted red bell pepper, sweet mini peppers, banana peppers, peperoncino, or fresh herbs from the garden.  There are so many ways to add to the basic recipe.

But we’ve cleaned it up and use ingredients that don’t contain additives or preservatives.  I’ve made Italian dressing from scratch or we use a gluten free, organic, and non-GMO store-bought brand (free of additives, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, too) if I don’t feel like prepping the dressing.

You can make a little or a lot.  This recipe is about enough for the two of us depending on how hungry we are.

Summer Pasta Salad

4 oz dried gluten free pasta
3 oz gluten free, casein free pepperoni
1 large avocado
1/4+ cup gluten free Italian salad dressing
Salt & Pepper

Cook the pasta according to instructions and let cool.  Chop the pepperoni into strips and add to the cooled pasta.  Cut the avocado flesh into cubes and add to the pasta.  Add the Italian dressing and gently toss.  Start with 1/4 cup and add more to your desired amount of salad dressing to pasta ratio.  Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving.  Also, keep it chilled in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.

Some of my favorite brands to use are:

  • Bionaturae gluten free pasta (made with organic rice, potato and soy)
  • Ancient Harvest gluten free pasta (made with organic corn and quinoa)
  • Applegate naturals uncured pepperoni
  • Drew’s Italian dressing

PLEASE NOTE: The pepperoni and dressing are preservative free foods, which means that they will spoil much faster than foods that do contain preservatives. The pepperoni needs to remain below 40 degrees. So make sure the pasta has cooled before adding it in.  And it’s not a good idea to take this “clean” version to a potluck and let it sit out for a long time because the potential for pathogenic bacteria to grow is much higher than that for salad dressings that do contain preservatives or cured meats.

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Deana Larkin Evans

Hi! I’m Deana. This food blog is all about cooking wholesome real food and developing gluten free recipes for some of our favorite comfort foods. I also create weekly menus to save time and money while reducing stress and food waste. I had to start eating gluten-free in 2010 and dairy/casein-free (except for the occasional Parmesan or goat cheese) in 2014. I’m kind of a science nerd, too. In the ’90s, I earned an undergrad degree in biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook ’em! Then followed up with a PhD in biochemistry and a law degree from the University of Houston. I recently earned a certificate in genomics/sequence analysis from Johns Hopkins University, where I also took a very cool food microbiology course.

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