Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad

June 3, 2019
Looking for an easy no-mayonnaise pasta salad recipe to enjoy?  Give Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad a try!  It's loaded with summer veggies, packed with flavor, and perfect for all those summer cookouts and picnics.
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Serving Spoon of Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad Image

Our family loves pasta salad in all its glorious forms - mayo, no mayo, regular ol' macaroni noodles, fancy noodles, ... you name it!  If it's pasta salad, we're all about it.

Our absolute favorites?  Classic Amish Macaroni Salad, Summer Vegetable Tortellini Salad, and loaded-with-yummy-stuff Antipasto Pasta Salad.  But hey, if you offer us just about any other variation, I'm sure we'd love that, too!

But my husband's absolute favorite pasta salad of all-time? ... It's Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad.

Trust me - you'll want to be sure to use a large bowl, because Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad recipe makes a big salad!

His Mom has been making this pasta salad for years, and I remember having it at her house many times even back before my husband and I were married.  She'd make a big bowl of it and leave it in the refrigerator for Mark to snack on - He'd take big heaping bowls of it throughout the day to munch on.

Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad is perfect for summertime and picnics because it's made without mayonnaise.  And no mayo = less need for refrigeration and maintaining a cold temperature.  So it packs in picnics much easier and can stay out a bit longer than traditional mayonnaise-based pasta salads.

Also, Ma's pasta salad used an ingredient I had never seen in pasta salads until I had hers - canned diced tomatoes.

Bowl of Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad Image

The juice from the canned diced tomatoes combines with bottled Zesty Italian dressing to make the tasty dressing of the salad.  And the diced tomatoes themselves add flavorful bites and nice pops of color to the otherwise-green-veggie'd salad.

To make this easy, flavorful, summer picnic pasta salad, start by chopping up lots of cucumber, green onions, and green pepper.  

When in season, Vidalia onion is a nice alternative to the green onion, too.  If you're not familiar with them, Vidalia onions are a mild, sweet onion grown in Georgia that are generally available from late spring through the summertime.

Chopped Cucumber, Green Onion, and Green Pepper to Make Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad Image

Add the chopped veggies to cooked rotini noodles in a large bowl.  And trust me - you'll want to be sure to use a large bowl, because Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad recipe makes a big salad!

Then add in a large can of diced tomatoes with their juice.

Making Pasta Salad with Canned Diced Tomatoes Image

You can use plain diced tomatoes in this salad, or use the ones with basil, garlic & oregano added into them.  I usually use Tuttorosso brand with the basil, garlic & oregano.  I feel like the seasoned diced tomatoes just bring that much more flavor to the finished salad.

Also, you can use regular diced or petite-diced tomatoes.  I use regular diced tomatoes, but if you'd prefer smaller pieces of tomato in the salad, petite-diced are an option, too.

Be sure to pour in the juice from the tomatoes, too.  The tomato juice combines with Zesty Italian dressing to create the tasty dressing for the pasta salad.

Be sure to pour in the juice from the tomatoes, too.  The tomato juice combines with Zesty Italian dressing to create the tasty dressing for the pasta salad.

Add in some Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Then give everything a gentle stir to get it all combined.

Adding Italian Seasoning to Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad Image

Then pour in a bottle of Zesty Italian dressing and gently stir it all together to finish the salad off.

Making Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing Instead of Mayonnaise Image

Pop the salad in the refrigerator to chill for a bit.  You want to give the salad at least a couple hours of chill time before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

And while the pasta salad will taste great after a couple of hours of chilling, we think it tastes even better when it's chilled overnight.  It's one of those dishes that just gets better and better as the flavors come together even more.

If you've got the time to let it happen, chill this salad overnight before serving to bring out even more great flavor.

If you've got the time to let it happen, chill this salad overnight before serving to bring out even more great flavor.

So, if you've got a bunch of summer cookouts or picnics coming up and want a no-mayonnaise pasta salad recipe to enjoy, give Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad a try.  

Like my husband, it may just become one of your favorites, too.  

Bowl of Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad without Mayonnaise Image
Thank you for stopping by The Kitchen is My Playground. We'd love to have you back soon!



Ma's Picnic Pasta Salad
(Print recipe)
Ingredients
  • 1 (16 oz.) box rotini noodles
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes*
  • 1 (16 oz.) bottle Zesty Italian Dressing (I use Kraft)
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (or use Vidalia onion)
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
Directions
  1. Cook noodles in salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Add diced tomatoes and their juice, chopped cucumber, chopped green pepper, chopped green onions, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper; toss gently until combined. Add Zesty Italian Dressing and toss gently to coat the noodles.
  3. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

* You can use plain diced tomatoes or the ones with basil, garlic & oregano in them.  I usually use Tuttorosso brand with the basil, garlic & oregano.

Enjoy!



1 comment

  1. This is a delicious salad and will be perfect for the picnic season! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

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