Cold pasta salad regains its dignity

Lots of crunchy vegetables and an assertively seasoned vinaigrette breathe new life into pasta salad.
(Hanna Carter / For The Times)

With so many of you having to stay home and cook for the first time — ever or more than you have in a long time — we get that it can be overwhelming to have to cook all your meals from scratch. So, we’re here to get you started.

Each day we’re going to post a new skill here and go in detail about how to do it — a resource for cooking basics so you can get food on the table and get through this.

A series of simple tutorials for making some basic recipes at home.

Lesson 35: Cold Pasta Salad

When the days get hot, I want a cold, refreshing meal I can eat straight from the fridge without breaking a proverbial or literal sweat. This is when I reach for a pasta salad.


I know what you’re thinking: “Who still eats pasta salad?” (If the deli section of any grocery store is any indication, A LOT of you.) But I’m not talking about the mayo-glopped macaroni or bow-tie clumps confetti-ed with red peppers and peas.

Instead, I bulk up my favorite kind of kale salad — massaged with an eye-stinging amount of lemon juice, garlic and shallots — with orzo and lots of crisp vegetables to keep the cooling crunch factor at its apex.

The salad gets better as it sits in the fridge, the flavors marrying and mellowing while still retaining their bite. It’s a pasta salad with personality, and it’s much more healthful than anything else you’ll be tempted to eat straight from the fridge.

Kale Pasta Salad With Parm and Smoked Almonds

Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 2 to 4