Pasta, veggies, and a rich Southwest flavor – this pasta is perfect for your next picnic!
Right around now is when I start getting invited to neighborhood picnics, parent group potlucks, and any number of other gatherings where the primary menu is the bring your own variety. A few years ago I would stress out about it, thinking up what might be impressive enough to be “worthy” yet easy enough that I didn’t break a sweat and waste an afternoon making it. Usually those two never went hand in hand, until I developed my end-all go-to Southwestern Taco Pasta Salad thanks to the folks at Suddenly Salad. It’s got everything and more, but takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. Genius? Yep! Read on to find out how to make it and never stress about potlucks again!
I can’t stress enough how ridiculously easy this pasta salad is, and it is absolutely amazing! With a Southwestern zest and rich, earthy black beans it is perfect to bring to your next picnic or to serve as a family dinner dish. I don’t want to bore you with words, so let’s jump right in to the recipe. Here is what you need:
- 2 cups uncooked penne pasta (double all ingredients if making for a large gathering)
- 1 package Suddenly Grain Salad – Southwest flavor
- Hand full of cherry tomatoes
- Clantro to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp water
To make, you are going to cook your pasta and grain salad at the same time. The Suddenly Salad Grain Salad is what will drive your flavor here, and it is the perfect blend of flavor and ease because it is one of those cook in bag dishes that all you do is set it on the stove and forget about it for 17 minutes. I love that it is great for more than just pasta, too – I can use it as a standalone side dish, as a topping for salad, and so much more!
So anyway, to make your pasta go ahead and start your noodles plus grain salad as stated on packaging. Once they are set to boiling, whip up your dressing according to the package directions, but add one extra tablespoon of olive oil. Set that aside, cut your cherry tomatoes in half, and then chop up a small handful of cilantro. Set all that aside until your other ingredients are done boiling. After that, drain and rinse them both in cold water, then combine everything in a large bowl. Stir until evenly blended, chill for 1 hour, and serve!
If you want an extra kick, you can add jalapeños or pepper to taste, but since picnic occasions call for universally agreeable dishes I like to leave them out when I’m making for others. I love that this pasta looks like it takes effort, but it doesn’t at all!
Want to try other varieties of Suddenly Salad and save? Head over here for a coupon, then head out to Publix and purchase your favorite! Want to win some summer cash? Comment with your favorite variety from this link for an entry to win $40 PayPal cash!