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Pasta House Salad Recipe

If you have ever had a pasta house salad, then you know what it’s all about.

This dish has been around since the 1970s and was originally created by a restaurant called Pasta House.

The original Pasta House Salad consisted of linguine tossed with mayonnaise, red pepper flakes, grated cheese, olives, capers, pickled artichokes, anchovies, celery, and parsley.

The next time you want to try something different, why not give this classic pasta house salad a spin?

What Type Of Pasta Is Used In A Pasta House Salad?

There are many types of pasta dishes available at a typical Italian or Mediterranean-style restaurant.

However, most restaurants will use either penne (or farfalle) or spaghetti as their primary ingredients when making a pasta house salad.

  • Penne – Penne pasta comes from Italy and consists of two cylindrical tubes joined together with a flat piece of dough running between them.
  • Farfalle – Farfalle pasta also originates from Italy but is shaped like bow ties.
  • They are commonly served al dente so they don’t fall apart too easily.
  • Spaghetti – Spaghetti is typically served uncooked because it cooks fairly quickly once immersed into boiling water.

A few other types of pastas that are sometimes used include fusilli, cavatelli, rigatoni, rotini, gemelli, bucatini, and pappardelle.

Pasta House Salad Recipe

How long does it take to cook pasta?

Pasta should always be cooked until tender before being added to the rest of your salad.

If you overcook pasta, it becomes mushy and gummy instead of retaining its shape.

When cooking pasta, keep an eye out for how much liquid needs to be added to ensure that the pasta doesn’t stick together.

Add enough liquid so that the pasta is completely submerged in the sauce or liquid.

What Is The Dressing Used On A Pasta House Salad?

Pasta house salads use a creamy dressing similar to Thousand Island or Ranch Dressing.

These dressings contain mayonnaise as well as sour cream, but they also include additional items such as ketchup, hot sauce, relish, or lemon juice.

You will see these ingredients listed among the list of ingredients on the back label of most bottles of commercial dressing products.

There are many ways to make your own homemade versions of these sauces, including using mashed potatoes instead of mayo, adding fresh herbs like basil and oregano, and even making substitutions based on individual tastes.

When mixing together the ingredients for a pasta house salad, don’t forget to add some extra flavor!

Pasta House Salad Recipe2

What Other Ingredients Are Used In A Pasta House Salad?

There is no set formula when making a pasta house salad because each one will vary depending on your preferences and tastes.

However, there are some common elements that most people add at least once during their mealtime experience.

  • Linguini or spaghetti – Any type of pasta works well here!
  • Parmesan cheese – A good dose of Parmesan is always a plus.
  • Black olives – These make everything taste better!
  • Capers – These salty little guys go great with anything savory.
  • Pickles (pickle relish)
  • Artichoke hearts – An excellent source of iron and fiber
  • Red onion – Not only does this work as an added crunch element but also gives the whole dish a nice flavor boost.
  • Sliced hard boiled egg – Eggs provide protein and healthy fat while still being light enough to eat without feeling heavy.

How Is A Pasta House Salad Served?

Pasta house salads are typically served as appetizers or side dishes at restaurants.

They are usually accompanied by bread, crackers, chips, or vegetables like lettuce or tomatoes.

There are several ways to serve your own pasta house salad at home.

You can either make it ahead of time so it’ll be ready when guests arrive or prepare it right before serving.

  • Make it ahead of time: If you decide to make your pasta house salad ahead of time, simply toss everything together in a large bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.
  • Prepare it just before serving: This option requires little effort on your part but will mean the salad won’t keep quite as long once it’s gone cold.
  • Serve it cold: Another way to serve this salad is to place it in the refrigerator an hour or two ahead of time.
  • When you get hungry again, take out the pasta, add more fresh herbs if desired, dress it up with olive oil, vinegar, garlic salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and eat!

Serving tips for a pasta house salad

When preparing a pasta house salad, there are a few things to consider:

  • Choose the best-quality ingredients possible.
  • While the basic components aren’t difficult to find, quality does matter here.
  • Make sure the pasta is firm enough to stand upright and the dressing is nice and thick without having too much liquid.
  • Use good quality mayo.
  • Avoid using low fat versions because they tend to separate quickly from the rest of the ingredients.
  • Use high quality shredded cheese.
  • While many people love the taste of cheddar or mozzarella, these cheeses don’t melt well.
  • Instead, use sharp cheddar, Swiss, or fontina.
  • Add extra flavor.
  • Adding spices, dried fruits, nuts, olives, etc., really brings the flavors alive and makes each bite feel special.

What Is The History Of The Pasta House Salad?

Pasta House was founded in 1972 by two brothers named Joe and John Graziano.

They decided to open up a fast food restaurant after they graduated from college, but they wanted to offer more than just hamburgers and hot dogs.

So, they began experimenting with different menu items.

One day, one of their customers suggested that they serve salads as well.

After trying out several recipes, they came up with an amazing salad that consisted of linguini cooked al dente, olive oil dressing, and sliced tomatoes topped off with crumbled feta cheese and fresh basil leaves.

This was the first pasta house salad on record, and it soon became popular among both locals and tourists alike.

Soon enough, other restaurants started offering similar dishes, and today there are dozens of places throughout America where you can get a good pasta house salad.

Now let’s take a look at how to make your own version!

How Did The Pasta House Salad Come To Be?

Pasta house salads are known for their simplicity and freshness.

They also tend to be very inexpensive, which makes them ideal for students and families on a budget.

To make your own pasta house salad, start by cooking some pasta according to package directions.

Once cooked, drain the noodles in a colander.

Then toss the pasta with a dressing consisting of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.

Add whatever other ingredients you like and mix well until everything is coated.

You can serve this delicious pasta salad as an appetizer or side item at dinner parties.

If you don’t feel like making your own pasta house salad from scratch, you can always buy premade versions online.

There are many brands out there, but if you prefer to go homemade, here are some tips for how to do so properly.

What Is The Meaning Behind The Pasta House Salad?

This classic pasta salad originated in America during the early 1970s at a chain of restaurants known as Pasta House.

There were two locations in New York City and one location in Miami Beach, Florida.

These restaurants served Italian food including spaghetti dishes, lasagna, meatballs, chicken parmesan, and baked ziti.

They also offered traditional American fare such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches like Reuben.

However, the Pasta House salad wasn’t part of these menus.

Instead, its creation was based on a chef named Paul Frontera who worked there from 1976 until his death in 1981.

His inspiration came when he discovered an old recipe book while cleaning out the kitchen.

He decided to create a new version of the salad using ingredients found in the book.

The result was so popular that the new version became the standard menu item for Pasta House.

By 1983, the company changed their name to Pasta House because they wanted to emphasize the fact that their salads were really just pastas dressed up with other typical Italian foods.

“Pasta” refers to the pasta itself, “House” refers to the restaurant’s address, while “Salad” refers to the dressing used.

Thus, the term “Pasta House Salad” was born.

Pasta House Salad Recipe3

What Are Some Interesting Facts About Pasta House Salads?

Pasta house salad recipes vary from region-to-region, but they usually consist of pasta and vegetables tossed in a creamy dressing or sauce.

Some versions include croutons or bread cubes as well.

There are two main types of pasta house salad recipes out there.

One version is typically served on top of lettuce leaves, while the other is used as an ingredient in another dish.

Here are several fun facts about pasta house salads.

  • Some restaurants will add bacon bits to their pasta house salad recipes, which adds a nice smoky flavor and crunchy texture.
  • Many restaurants serve a meatless pasta house salad option as well.
  • These dishes often contain tofu or tempeh instead of meat, so vegetarians can enjoy them too!
  • As far as dressings go, many varieties of pasta house salad exist, including ranch style, blue cheese, Italian vinaigrette, Caesar, Greek vinaigrette, and others.

Pasta house salad ingredients

Pasta house salad recipes vary widely depending upon where you live.

For example, if you live in California, your pasta house salad might include corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, green onions, black beans, pinto beans, avocado, and cilantro.

This isn’t meant to be comprehensive list of ingredients though, because you should feel free to experiment with whatever veggies and proteins you like best (and don’t forget to use fresh herbs!).

Pasta house salad variations

One thing that makes pasta house salad so unique is how much variety exists within its category.

There are many different ways to prepare this dish, and each variation comes with its own set of flavors and textures.

You can even create your own homemade pasta house salad using store bought rotini noodles, just follow these steps:

  • Mix together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and basil in a large bowl.
  • Add the cooked pasta and toss until everything is coated evenly.
  • Serve immediately.

How Can I Make A Pasta House Salad At Home?

For a basic pasta house salad, you will need one pound of cooked pasta (like rotini or penne).

Next, add in your favorite ingredients like tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, avocado, romaine lettuce, blue cheese dressing, croutons, and bacon bits.

You might also include other toppings such as roasted almonds, peanuts, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, or feta cheese.

You can always change up the way you mix these ingredients together depending on your preferences.

Step 1: Cook the pasta

  • Put the pasta into boiling water until al dente.
  • Drain the pasta well.
  • Add the pasta back into a large bowl.

Step 2: Add all the rest of the ingredients

  • Next, pour the desired amount of blue cheese dressing over the top of the pasta.
  • Use tongs or chopsticks to toss everything together so that each piece gets coated evenly.
  • Top off with your choice of additional ingredients.

Step 3: Serve immediately!

Once you’ve mixed everything together, serve immediately because this dish tends to get soggy if left out too long.

If you don’t eat it right away, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it within an hour for best results.

Where Can I Find A Good Pasta House Salad Recipe?

There are plenty of variations on the theme out there, but most recipes call for cooked pasta.

If you don’t like eating raw pasta, you will need to cook up some before you start creating your own version of this popular dish.

You could choose from many types of pastas in order to create your own unique pasta house salad.

Some common varieties include penne, rotini, elbow macaroni, fusilli, farfalle (bowtie), spirals, shells, or tortelloni.

You might also consider adding other ingredients such as spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, onions, avocados, cucumbers, mushrooms, bacon, chicken, shrimp, tuna, eggs, and more.

Once you decide which kind of pasta you would like to use, you should begin preparing it.

After you cut off each piece of pasta, put them into a bowl filled with cold water.

Then set aside until they are ready to go.

Next, add half an avocado to a bowl.

Add 1/4 cup of olive oil along with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Mix together well so that everything becomes creamy.

When everything is combined, sprinkle salt over top.

Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Now comes the fun part!

Get out the vegetables and meats that you plan to add to the mix.

Once you have all of these items organized, toss them together.

Next, pour half of the dressing over the mixture.

Make sure that you do not drown the pasta pieces because if you do, they will become mushy.

Finally, drizzle the remaining dressing over the entire bowl.

Pasta House Salad Recipe2

Pasta House Salad Recipe

The original Pasta House Salad consisted of linguine tossed with mayonnaise, red pepper flakes, grated cheese, olives, capers, pickled artichokes, anchovies, celery, and parsley.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pasta House Salad Recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 13451kcal


  • 1 Jar
  • 1 Bowl


  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 romaine lettuce
  • 1 can artichoke heart
  • 1 onion
  • 1 jar pimiento
  • 2⁄3 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2⁄3 cup parmesan cheese


  • In a sizable salad dish, combine the lettuce, artichoke hearts, onion, and pimento.
  • In a jar with a tight lid, combine the remaining ingredients.
  • Shake the bottle firmly until everything is well-blended.
  • Toss the salad with the dressing until it is thoroughly coated.
  • To marinate, place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving.
  • It should be noted that if you add dressing more than 30 minutes before serving, the acids in the dressing will cause the lettuce to wilt.



Calories: 13451kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 209g | Fat: 1391g | Saturated Fat: 266g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 134g | Monounsaturated Fat: 950g | Cholesterol: 391mg | Sodium: 10122mg | Potassium: 1231mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 6261IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 6932mg | Iron: 17mg
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