When it’s hot out like it has been the last few weeks, I like to keep some cold pasta salads like this roasted pepper pasta salad on hand. That way I can throw something simple on the grill, like dogs or burgers, and have my sides already made.
You can use jarred roasted red peppers in this if you like, but if peppers are in season it is easier (and better) to just roast them on your grill. I also roast my garlic on the grill this time of year. You can also roast both the peppers and garlic in the oven.
When it’s hot out like it has been the last few weeks, I like to keep some cold pasta salads on hand. That way I can throw something simple on the grill, like dogs or burgers, and have my sides already made.
Cook pasta per package instructions. Rinse and drain well. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, fire up your grill.
Cut the bottom off the head of garlic. Place garlic in the middle of a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil and seal.
Place the almonds in another foil packet. Do not add oil to them.
Place the garlic pouch on the grill over indirect heat. Place the peppers and almond packet directly over the fire. Grill, turning the peppers every 5 minutes, until all sides of the peppers are charred and the garlic is tender (the garlic may take longer than the peppers). Shake the nuts a few times and grill until just starting to darken. Remove from heat and let cool.
Run the peppers under cold water and remove all of the charred skin. Also remove the stem. Cut into slices, removing the seeds and any ribs.
Squeeze the garlic head so the garlic comes out. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and mash with the side of a knife.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, peppers, garlic paste, 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon juice, and nuts. Add in the mozzarella and basic and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
There’s something about the ‘pop’ of putting peas in a smooth, creamy pasta salad. I added in some ham I had smoked a while back that was hiding in the back of the freezer. It added a nice smoky flavor to the salad. If you don’t have any ham, you can leave it out and still have a great peas and pasta salad. For extra crunch, add in some finely chopped green and red bell pepper.
For extra smoky goodness, substitute a smoked cheddar instead. Or for a lighter cheese flavor use mild cheddar. Monterrey Jack cheese is also great in this salad.
I recently discovered Blue Plate mayonnaise, which I think is the best around. If you can’t find it locally you can pick it up online for a fair price.
This is my go-to taco seasoning mix. I usually make a really big batch and store it in the pantry. Use 2-3 tablespoons of mix per 1 pound of ground beef (or ground turkey) to make a great taco meat. I prefer to make my own mixes like this one because it allows for changing it up to suit my tastes. And another big thing is that I get to control the amount of salt. So many packaged seasonings are absolutely loaded with salt.