Meat Lovers Pasta Salad ~ yes, real men DO eat pasta, and it’s this hearty pasta salad! Real women love it too ;)
Pasta salads are kind of a late summer staple for me, I like to have them chilling in the fridge so that I don’t have to lift a finger at the end of a long hot day. But I know I’m not alone in having a certain member of the family who does not consider a meal to be a meal without meat. So when I want to make a quick and easy pasta salad for dinner, I have to get creative. I decided to go all out with FOUR different kinds of meat in this one…nobody complained!
Any meat that can be cubed is fair game, I like salami, ham, sopressata, and, of course, bacon. Just visit your deli counter and pick out your favorites, Ask them to cut you a 1/2 inch chunk, rather than slices, so you can dice it later.
I add half the dressing to the steaming hot, just drained pasta, it will absorb the flavors as it cools.
- 3/4 lb pasta (I used fusilli) cooked according to the package directions
- 1/2 inch slice of salami, cut in cubes (approximately 1/4 lb)
- 1/2 inch slice of sopressata, cut in cubes (approximately 1/4 lb)
- 1/2 inch slice of ham, cut in cubes (approximately 1/4 lb)
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 small Persian cucumber, or 1/3 of an English cucumber, diced
- 1/3 red onion, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup black olives, sliced
- a few radishes, if you have them, quartered
- 1 cup feta cheese, cut in small cubes
- handful fresh thyme and oregano, leaves
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- juice of 2 lemons
- 6 Tbsp champagne vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried Italian herb blend
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- While the pasta is still hot, toss it with about half of the dressing, to coat all surfaces. Cover and refrigerate.
- When the pasta has cooled, add in the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the bacon, and toss. Add more dressing to moisten the salad and put back in the fridge until ready to eat.
- Just before serving toss in the bacon and taste the salad. Adjust the seasoning and add more dressing if necessary.
- If you love Mediterranean flavors, here’s another Classic Italian Pasta you might like!