Party Food

How To Make the Best Pasta Salad Without Mayo — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I have to admit an unpopular opinion: I am just not into mayonnaise-based summer salads. When it is hot out, I want to eat light and refreshing salads, not thick and creamy ones. So when I say this is the best pasta salad ever, it's with that opinion in mind. But a mayo-free pasta salad can still come with a degree of creaminess. In this case it's by way of an olive oil-rich vinaigrette and a sprinkling of flavorful soft cheese.

Start by choosing the right pasta for the job, making an oil-based dressing, and adding some personal flair with a number of optional add-ins. Learn how to make your new favorite pasta salad right here, right now.

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Recipe: Strawberry Blondies — Easy Dessert Recipes

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Put just about any baked treat in front of me and I am happy, but there's something extra special about these seasonal blondies. The base is a classic blondie that's been seriously upgraded with the help of brown butter and a slew of chopped white chocolate. Fresh strawberry halves dot the surface — their sweet summer flavor concentrates and caramelizes in the oven, leaving you to bite into juicy, candy-like flavor in between bites of buttery, cookie-like goodness.

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Recipe: Beet “Ambrosia” — Quick and Easy Weeknight Sides

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You know what I love? Being surprised by a familiar ingredient or an old recipe. This beet ambrosia does both. Ambrosia is typically a sweet fruit salad studded with marshmallows and chopped nuts, dressed with a sweet, creamy dressing. Beet ambrosia takes its visual cues from traditional ambrosia, but is decidedly savory.

A bite of this beet ambrosia is like a bite of the classic beet and goat cheese salad, but easier to eat. The beets are tender and soaked with a vinaigrette, but sweet grapes and salty pistachios keep the salad in balance. The dressing is rich and herby, with a whipped texture and a tanginess, thanks to goat cheese.

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Recipe: Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You're going to want to keep this salad firmly planted in your summer meal plan rotation and at the ready for all of your picnics and potlucks. It is what I consider a multi-purpose, do-it-all salad — one that everyone can eat. It gets its bulk from protein-rich pantry staples like quinoa and beans, and picks up freshness, crunch, and color from a medley of veggies before it's tied together with a zippy chile-lime dressing. You can count on it to hold its own as the main course or a side that pairs with all your summer favorites.

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Recipe: The Ultimate Spring Party Salad — Salad Recipes

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Take this as advice from someone who dares to bring salad to a pizza and ice cream party: Your next party needs this stunning salad, because it satisfies everyone's craving for something green on their plate while being darn delicious too.

It includes everything you expect from a spring salad, like tender baby kale and arugula, fresh blueberries, salty pistachios, briny feta cheese, and hello, edible flowers! But let's talk about the real brains of this beauty — the easiest blush-vinaigrette, a clever mix of honey and red wine vinegar dressing with the sweetest pink hue and a deliciously balanced flavor.

Get ready because once you bring this salad to a party, everyone will be expecting it at the next book club/baby shower/pizza party and you'll be invited to a lot more of them.

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Recipe: Strawberry Mojito Pitcher — Easy Pitcher Drinks

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Strawberries, on their own, are the taste of summer. Add them to a mojito and you have a berry good drink. The red berries leach their sweetness into the pitcher as they're muddled, acting as the ideal contrast to all that mint and rum. Now, batch that recipe up so that it'll fill your favorite pitcher and you have the makings of a fresh and fruity crowd-pleaser. If you thought regular mojitos were refreshing, this one is doubly so.

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