Make sure to add enough salt/seasoning for maximum flavor. For this much pasta, you must add enough salt to bring out the tasty flavors. Best part about this salad is that you can totally customize it the way you want. Add more of less of any ingredient to make it perfect to your personal taste! Want to make it vegetarian? leave out the ham and bacon. If you like extra flavor, make an extra batch of the dressing and then toss it over the salad right before serving. We prefer to use smaller pasta.
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For the salad
1pound(454g)dried pasta, cooked to package instructions
2cups(180g)chopped broccoli florets
1medium bell pepper, chopped
2mediumtomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
3green onion, chopped
1/4cup(60ml)chopped red onion
4stripscooked bacon, chopped
4ounces(113g)cheddar cheese, or your cheese of choice - cubed
1/2teaspoon(2.5ml)black pepper, fresh cracked if possible
2Tablespoons(30ml)fresh chopped oregano
2Tablespoons(30ml)fresh chopped basil
Prepare the Pasta: Fill a large bowl (big enough to hold cooked pasta) halfway with ice water. Boil pasta to package instructions. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water and shock the pasta by adding it to the cold water to get it cold fast. Once cold, drain the pasta, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Make the Dressing: In large bowl whisk together all the dressing ingredients (olive oil, vinegar, mayo, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and basil). Taste the dressing and adjust salt, pepper or additional seasonings to your preference.
Add all salad ingredients into the same bowl as the dressing (pasta, broccoli, bell pepper, celery, carrots, tomatoes, green onion, red onion, ham, bacon, and cheese). Gently stir everything together to coat with the dressing. Add additional fresh lemon zest or juice (optional) to taste. Serve chilled.