This is an excellent vegetarian pasta salad, which has the perfect combination of flavours and texture. It's zingy, cheesy and packed full of crunchy veggies. Perfect for the summer!
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
This is almost identical to what I make. I read a review that the Italian dressing was overkill. I would like to suggest that you allow people to add their own dressing. We also serve the parmasean cheese on the side, because people like different amounts. We found that "Newman's Own" Oil and Vinegar is especially well liked by most people. If you like it a bit spicier, try the salad seasoning you find in the herbs & spices section as well. Also, we find that halved cherry tomatoes are prettier and often have more flavor than most tomatoes we get up north. Also, you can try sliced black olives for color contrast & variety. It's really a great recipe though, both as suggested and with your own touches. People have varied tastes and by letting them add their own seasoning, they can adjust amounts with ease. You won't have the chance to "marinate," but for company, dieters, diet-restricted, and/or a husband like mine (who won't use dressing at all), it's essential! - 08 Mar 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I'm giving this perticular recipe only 4 stars not because it isn't delicious, but because I make it slightly differently. First, I use whatever pasta we have a lot of... Right now the Family Fav is "Whole Wheat" pasta, incuding some spaghetti, broken up to look like "worms". (We have boys, any questions? LOL) I use anything in the fridge that needs using; including- any fresh veggies, ham, bacon, pepperoni, cubed or shredded cheese (any cheese I use, I add at serving time, as it can become slimey). Olives in our house are a must: green or black & I use them whole (drained). Fresh onions & garlic: finely chopped & chushed, respectively, also. I leave the whole salad rather dry, using only a small amount of olive oil & red or white wine vinegar, shaken together, to keep it moist. **The rest of the family adds whatever Italian-type dressing they want at serving time. My preference is "Good Seasons- Zesty Italian" dry salad dressing mix made with balsamic vinegar & olive oil. However, I've also used fat-free Italian dressing with good results, but keep in mind that "Fat-Free" dressing absorbs/dries out quickly and should be used at serving time. Add some crumbled Feta instead of- or with the Parm. (But then again; I've never met a Feta that I don't like...) ;-) Oh yeah- I serve the peppers on the side becaucse I hate the damned things. - 16 Jul 2005 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
Oh boy, definitely overkill on the italian dressing!! This is the kind of salad that you can add whatever makes your taste buds dance. I didn't use the bottled dressing, however, used balsamic vinegar and olive oil along with my own spices. I also added green and black olives, red and green peppers and herb feta cheese. Yum! - 04 Oct 2002 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)