I made this for our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) potluck picnic last night. It's such an easy dish for a large group of people.
Makes: 10-12 servings
1 package (16 oz.) spiral pasta
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
4 oz. monterey jack cheese, cubed
1 c. red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. green bell pepper, chopped
1 can sliced black olives, drained
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
3 t. dried basil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 t. onion powder
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a salad bowl, add tomatoes, cheese, peppers and olives. In a blender or food processor, combine dressing ingredients and mix until blended. Pour over pasta mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.
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Tips: You can choose what size can of black olive you prefer to use based on how much you or your family likes black olives. Pasta salad is also great with water chestnuts added. You can find them with the oriental foods at the grocery store. Also, I recommend adding the dressing as late as you can before serving. If it is added too far ahead of time, it ends up being absorbed by the pasta and although the flavor is still there the salad can be a bit dry. I also shared this recipe at Momtrends' Friday Food.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home's 2002 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes