Asiago Pasta Salad is a simple summer side dish that plays well with any meal. Think buttery farfalle drenched in cheesy mayo with a touch of pimento and black olive. Aka heaven on a paper plate.
Asiago macaroni salad harkens back to the fine old tradition of simple mayo-centric pasta salads we all grew up with
This is a copy cat recipe from the deli counter at my favorite grocery store. I’ve made my own version so I don’t have to mess with the whole face mask and disinfectant bit just to get my classic pasta salad fix. You’ll most likely have the ingredients in the pantry and fridge, which makes it super convenient.
If you know this site you know I’m no stranger to loaded salads, I love piling on the fresh ingredients! My loaded farro salad and my Mediterranean pasta salad include more than their share of add-ins. But sometimes I feel like taking a break from colorful, crunchy, and chaotic. This salad is blissfully uncomplicated.
Asiago cheese stars in this classic potluck recipe
Asiago is a sweet nutty Italian cheese that comes in a fresh mild, form, and also in a sharper aged form. Either will work for this recipe. It’s less pungent than Parm, but just as tasty. You can substitute Parmesan, Pecorino, or Manchego if you like. The good amount of cheese in this recipe makes it super hearty and satisfying. (Big fat butterfly pasta helps in that department too.)
The combination of Asiago, pimento, and black olive is spot on. I can’t even tell you why that is, but it works. Chop your black olives until they’re very finely minced, they should be the same size as the pimentos. I love the excuse to use my Alligator chopper, it pretty much gets used every day once summer salad and salsa season begins.
What exactly are pimentos, anyway?
- Pimentos are a very sweet, mild variety of red pepper.
- They have a lovely delicate flavor that gives a classic touch to pasta salads.
- You’ll find lightly marinated pimentos in very small jars in the olive section of your supermarket.
A classic creamy pasta salad is hard to beat 🙂 It’s utterly delicious, but won’t steal the show from your fabulous steak, burgers, ribs, kebobs, or whatever you do so well on the grill.
How long can you leave a mayo based salad outside?
- Mayo based salads are no different from other foods that require refrigeration, and the rule of thumb (straight from the FDA) is two hours max.
- If the temperature outside is 90F or above, that becomes one hour.
- Make sure your salad is well chilled to begin with, and bring it out at the very last minute, when those burgers are actually off the grill.
Tip: Divide your side dishes in half and serve one half first, then swap out the other half 2 hours later. That effectively doubles your safe serving window.
Want to skip the mayo? Try these summer salads:
- 7 Bean Salad with Chimichurri Dressing
- Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad
- Chopped Greek Salad
- Avocado and Herb Salad
- Rainbow Chard Salad
Asiago Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces Farfalle (bow tie) pasta
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder, or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper, or more to taste
- 4 ounce jar of pimentos, drained and finely chopped
- 1/3 cup finely chopped black olives
- 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese, or more to taste.
- Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse briefly. Let drain well then add to a mixing bowl. Toss the warm pasta with half of the mayonnaise, cover, and chill for an hour or so.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pasta and toss well. Chill thoroughly before serving.