Lazy Writer’s Pasta Salad

Lazy Writer's Pasta Salad

This is my favorite combo (see below). I make it for Memorial Day, and this year I’ll be making it for Independence Day, too.

Really, this pasta salad is the only thing I can make for your cook-out…I get busy, but I have lots of people over and, especially in the summer, I go to other people’s gatherings. Usually at these things, like most people, I’m asked to bring a side dish.

For years I’ve been making this simple, quick, and inexpensive pasta salad that’s sure to please just about everyone because anything can be done with this base. Literally, anything. You can throw in any type of meat—shrimp, chicken, even steak will work—or do it with any kind of vegetable (which is awesome, because if you load it up with enough veggies and other non-animal crap it makes a great throw-it-on-the-table as the main course for the vegetarians in your universe). Just make sure whichever spice you choose works well with the ingredients you’re going to add.

Here’s how to make the base.

 ~ 1 lb. box pasta (any shape will work, but I find it’s best to avoid spaghetti, capellini, and linguine)

~ ½ Olive Oil (will be to taste)

  1. Boil water and cook pasta; check frequently until it is cooked al dente.
  2. When pasta is al dente, drain into colander and immediately rinse with cold water. This stops the pasta from cooking, “freezing” it in its harder state.
  3. Drain thoroughly. I usually let it sit in the colander for about ten minutes.
  4. Pour pasta into large mixing bowl.
  5. Add about ½ cup of olive oil and stir thoroughly. The pasta should be coated, but you don’t want to end up with a gallon of it at the bottom of the bowl. Use your judgment. If you think you need a bit more, or you prefer a bit more, go for it.

That’s it. From this point, add your spices of choice and your vegetables and/or (cooked) meats. Just mix it all together so that everything is evenly distributed. I usually put the spices in first, then add the solids, then test it to see if I need more spices, but either way you do it will work.

Here are some combos I’ve done in the past (they have stupid names because I made them for specifically themed parties so that’s how I remember them). If you invent your own (and I encourage you to!) drop me a line and share it in the comments!

Memorial Day

Black Olives

Cubed green, red, orange, and yellow peppers

Garlic Powder

Dill, Oregano, or Basil (any of these will work)


Revenge of the Creature

Shrimp (any size)

Snow peas (cold)

Julienned carrots



Animal Farm

Chicken (cooked!)

Raw Red Onions

Broccoli Florets (raw)



Don’t Look Now

Artichoke Hearts

Cubed pecorino romano cheese

Cubed pepperoni

Sliced sweet red peppers (the kind you buy in the jar)

Garlic Powder



Escape from Tomorrow

Cubed steak (any kind, though I find the higher the quality the nicer it is)—cooked the way you prefer. Do not do this raw. Your guests will probably not eat it.

Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese

Chopped raw red onions

Sliced beets

Dill or Oregano (I’ve done both; they both work).


About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of both the New England Horror Writers and the Horror Writers Association. Follow her adventures at

Posted on July 3, 2014, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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