We love fresh sides like slaws and salads to help round things out and give us something different on the table.
But sometimes I want something a little heftier, and I just LOVE a great pasta salad for that very reason. And the more junk you can throw in a pasta salad, the happier I am. That’s what inspired me to create this Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad.
This delicious salad is filled with bowtie pasta, tomatoes, bell peppers, olive, artichokes, parmesan cheese, and a light and tangy vinaigrette. But the real star is the polish sausage from Kiolbassa Smoked Meats.
It might seem a little unconventional, but it adds so much flavor and and totally different texture that I just love. And you’re going to love it too.
The smokiness of the small batch, slow-crafted sausage adds some seriously amazing flavor to a dish that can sometimes be a little bland.
Many pasta salads benefit from some time in the fridge to allow the flavors to develop. Personally, I don’t think this is one of them. I love it served immediately at room temp. That said, it’s delicious after some time in the fridge, too. The flavors are remarkably different whether it’s served soon after it’s made or after it’s had some time to let all the favors get happy together. You might just have to try it both ways to see what best strikes your fancy.
A few things to keep in mind with this recipe:
- Have you ever made a pasta salad and found the pasta to be gummy and all stuck together after cooking? Shocking the pasta in ice water after cooking it helps to stop the cooking process and keeps it from getting gummy. It also helps to keep it from sticking together. Yes, it’s another step, but it’s one I don’t skip.
- Another little trick that I learned a while back is that adding your red onion to your dressing gives it a quick little pickle and keeps it from having such a sharp flavor. It also adds flavor to your dressing. I always do it this way now. It really makes a difference!
The Kiolbassa Smoked Meats Polish Sausage is a super important part of the flavor of this dish. Use the product locator on their website to find it close to you!
Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad
- 1 (13-ounce) package Kiolbassa Polish Smoked Sausage, diced
- 1 (1-pound) box bow-tie (farfalle) pasta
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 1 (13.75-ounce) can quartered artichokes, drained
- 1 (3.8-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions just to al dente and immediately shock in ice water. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage. Drain. Set aside.
- Make the dressing by whisking together the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, basil, and minced garlic. Add the onion and stir to combine (see the blog post for why we do that). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, sausage, artichokes, black olives, bell pepper, tomaotes, and parmesan cheese. Add the dressing with the onions and toss to coat. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate to allow the flavors to develop more. If refrigerated, be sure to toss the salad again before serving and adjust seasoning to taste once more.
* If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. The values do not include optional ingredients or when ingredients are added to taste. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.