With summer heading our way at full speed, it’s time to dust off the grills and picnic baskets and to become reacquainted with favorite warm weather recipes. Today’s Broccoli Sausage Pasta Salad recipe is a prefect tee up for dining al fresco.
I love summer salads. A great green salad full of vegetables and fruit is welcome any time especially in the hottest months. It’s hard to imagine eating much of anything else.
I’ve always loved a great potato salad and these two are summer staples Grill-Smoked Creamy Potato Salad with Bacon and Tri Color Chipotle Bacon Potato Salad are our family favorite (and yes, I love bacon in potato salads). Macaroni salad? Yes, Picnic Macaroni Salad please especially.
A fantastic, easy pasta salad is a must to have on the summer recipe rotation. This Broccoli Sausage Pasta Salad hits all the bases with crunchy broccoli, delicious chicken apple sausage slices, penne pasta (gluten-free or regular), cubes of mozzarella cheese, sunflower seeds for crunch and an irresistible vinaigrette.
It’s great served warm or chilled. It can be eaten solo as a main dish or a side dish. Because it does not have mayonnaise it’s more hot weather hardy too.
One of our favorite Memorial Day weekend traditions is heading up into the canyon above our house to camp out for the day by a roaring river. Never knowing if a fire ban will be in place, we take favorite picnic food and this salad is always on the list.
Sadly a few years ago there was a huge flood in our area (even made the international news) ripping apart the picnic spot. We visited the first year having not seen the result of the over engorged river which uprooted trees, tossed boulders willy nilly and tore apart the picnicking spots.
Access to the river side had become limited so we turned around and enjoyed a picnic in our backyard instead. The pasta salad was just as good there!
Broccoli Sausage Pasta Salad
Ingredients for the Dressing:
- ¼ c Red Wine Vinegar
- ½ c Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 large Garlic Clove , diced
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
Ingredients for Pasta Salad:
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 1 pound pre-cooked Chicken Apple Sausage , sliced
- 1 12- ounce box Penne Pasta (gluten-free or regular), prepared
- 1/3 cup Red Onion , finely chopped
- 1- pound Broccoli , cut into small florets
- 1 Red , Yellow or Orange Sweet Pepper (or 2 halves of different peppers), sliced thinly and slices halved
- 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1/3 cup raw Sunflower Seeds
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid. Shake to fully combine; stir to dissolve the sugar if needed.
In a large saucepan over medium high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausage slices and stir until they are lightly browned. Remove from heat.
In a large serving bowl combine the sausage, pasta, onion, broccoli, and pepper slices; toss with the dressing. Stir in the mozzarella cheese cubes and sunflower seeds. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Note: if using gluten-free pasta, the salad is best eaten the day it is prepared.