Mistakes to Avoid When Making Pasta Salad

Pasta salad can be one of the best salad you can find if only it’s assembled the correct way. Also, it happens to be the worst salad you can eat if prepared wrongly. What mistakes can make you regret having tasted pasta salad? Might it be the too much mayo, squishy pasta or not adding enough salt? All these mistakes are listed below to help you not to make them twice.

Mistake 1: Using Too Many Raw Ingredients

“Everyone loves crunchy vegetables any time, but whenever you bite into a soft pasta then followed by a raw broccoli stem that is ready to break your teeth any time, then you feel nothing but dread for the next bite. This can give you the worst experience from your first pasta salad.

Instead, when preparing pasta salad try to be picky on which vegetables to leave raw and cut them into small pieces. The other vegetables you can blanch or roast them to soften their texture. But still, you can choose jarred or pickles ingredients. Either way, you will have the best pasta salad.

Mistake 2: Using the Wrong Pasta

Choosing wrong pasta size or shape can make your pasta salad, slimy, soggy or just plain hard to enjoy. Even worse, fresh noodles can’t survive the heavy dressing or the process from cooking to cooling. Also, some shapes that stick together don’t form a good salad, neither do elbow-shaped pasta. What you need is a dry pasta cut into small shapes the size of a quarter or smaller. We normally go for fusilli, farfalle, penne or orecchiette pasta which are a good choice. In addition to that, you should avoid the tube-like pasta because they can trap the dressing and veggies.

Mistake 3: Salting Too Many Time

Salt should be added only once and most preferably at the end. I understand because pasta salad is dressed with flat dense dressing, you might decide to add too much salt during the making process. This will ruin it and what you get is a cold bland salad that tastes totally different from your expectations. Alternatively, you can salt as you go. You can start with the water you will be using to cook pasta. Then season vegetables before cooking and also season salad dressing before adding to the salad. Then lastly you should season once the salad components altogether. The point is that, if you forget to season before cooking or preparing don’t make a mistake of seasoning when the process is on. You should wait until the last step to season them all together.

Mistake 4: Not Seasoning Again If You Had Stored It

When your pasta salad remains and you decide to store in the fridge, because of the chilled environment the salad might taste blander. Even though it was properly seasoned before, salad pasta might be a little bland just out of the fridge. You should have a taste of the salad again and add a pinch of salt or a drizzle of lemon juice to bring out that good taste before serving.

Mistake 5: Underdressing or Overdressing the Salad

If you decide to use mayo as part of the dressing, you will be required to go a step further than just vinaigrette to make it taste good. You don’t want your end results to be a gloopy salad with no one to eat. Also, you don’t want to have a dry pasta salad. A correctly made salad should be dressed at least twice. You should make the dressing and use about half or three-quarters of it to dress your salad before chilling. By doing this, you’re allowing your salad time to soak up most of the dressing. When it comes to serving you should add a few tablespoons of dressing, if needed. This makes it the second time you’re dressing your salad.


Pasta salad tends to be more complicated and it requires to be doctored with bright ingredients. For example, adding herbs such as basil can make your salad lively. However, basil can oxidize quickly when it comes into contact with vinaigrette, hence you should use whole leaves at the last minute. Remember when cooking pasta, you should use boiling water because allowing the pasta to sit on cold water makes it gummy and sticky. Also, you should stir once you’ve added the pasta and allow the water to come back to full boil. Stirring helps prevent clumpy noodles. Most importantly, avoid adding cooking oil when boiling pasta. People think that adding oil will prevent the pasta from sticking together. However, adding oil makes pasta slippery and then the dressings will not adhere to it.

All images by Pixabay


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