Pepperoni Helps Give Your Pasta Salad A Kick Of Meaty Goodness

colorful bowl of pasta salad with pepperoni
colorful bowl of pasta salad with pepperoni - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

Pasta salad is a delectable, low-fuss recipe that's always a crowd-pleaser at picnics and cookouts. Between the fun, short-grain pasta shapes like fusilli or rigatoni and a myriad of customizable mix-ins, it's hard to go wrong. But if your usual recipes have grown mundane, it's time to give an upgrade to the oft-one-note pasta salad. With the addition of a simple cured meat, pepperoni, you can transform this usual side dish into a main course meal.

Pepperoni not only adds protein to your pasta salad, but the lip-smacking salty flavor gives an additional layer of flavor. Pasta salad can sometimes get bogged down if the pasta is too bland or if your add-ins consist of light, fresh vegetables. Fresh veggies make a pasta salad bright and refreshing, but can often leave something to be desired. And sticking to the same old pasta salad recipes is one of the biggest mistakes you can make with pasta salad. So if you have any omnivores asking you where the meat is, pepperoni is the answer!

Read more: 11 Things You Didn't Know You Should Be Doing With Bacon

Why Pepperoni Works In A Pasta Salad

pepperoni slices on cutting board
pepperoni slices on cutting board - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

A pepperoni pasta salad recipe can be just the meal to satisfy pizza lovers and pasta salad fiends alike. While not inherently spicy, pepperoni contains a slight kick as a spiced, cured meat. A combination of pork and beef, pepperoni has the perfect combination of lean meat and fat and brings a salty, savory element that pasta salad can often lack. Consider an Italian antipasto platter, where pepperoni is often a shining star.

Part of the appeal of choosing to make a pasta salad is the convenience of the recipe. Besides cooking the pasta, the rest of the meal can be assembled without turning on the oven or stove. And all the other ingredients can be chopped and prepped ahead of time. You can purchase and slice pepperoni sausages yourself, but pepperoni is widely available in pre-diced cubes or slices, making it an easy team player to tag into your pasta salad. Plus, the meat pairs well with a variety of ingredients.

More Ingredient Pairings For Your Pepperoni Pasta Salad

bowl of pasta salad ingredients: cheese, pepperoni, onion, olives, tomatoes
bowl of pasta salad ingredients: cheese, pepperoni, onion, olives, tomatoes - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

Just as pasta salad is often served as an appetizer, antipasto platter translates to "before the meal." So take a page out of an antipasto platter's book, and you'll find a world of tasty ingredients that complement the pepperoni while rounding out your pasta salad. Try out briny bits like olives, a classic pairing with cured meats, to up the salt factor. And if you're a fan of briny foods already, why not toss in some marinated or pickled vegetables for good measure? Capers could also work.

Charcuterie and pizza lovers alike will also know that pepperoni has a worthy companion in another great pasta salad addition: cheese. Whether you sprinkle your pasta salad with mozzarella pearls or use tender cheddar cubes, creamy cheese will contrast the salty pepperoni while adding another rich element to the pasta salad as a whole. Give your pasta salad the final touch with a homemade dressing like a vinaigrette, and your meaty pepperoni will take care of the rest with its bold flavor.

Read the original article on Daily Meal