I’m always trying to come up with fun ways to serve food for outdoor parties and get togethers. For me, half of what makes food good is the presentation, so I like to ‘wow‘ my guests with beautiful displays. Yes, sometimes I put more effort into the displays than preparing the foods themselves, but eh…oh well. That’s what Costco is for, right?
In an effort to come up with a fun food idea for my daughter’s second birthday party, I stumbled upon the idea of a DIY pasta salad bar. I love this idea for a few reasons… 1) Guests can make the pasta salad their way which is great for picky eaters and guests with allergies and 2) It gives me a reason to use my favorite serve-ware.
I absolutely love my 4-part bamboo and ceramic serving tray ($40) from Core Bamboo. It’s not only classy looking but super functional, as well. I like to use my serving tray for candies, salad fixins’, fruits and even chips and dips, too.
With some help with images from WeLaughWeCryWeCook.com, deliciouslydeclassified.com and CoreBamboo.com, I’m going to share my ideas for a DIY pasta salad bar.
Bowls/Plates: Set out vintage mis-matched bowls or bamboo bowls for guests to create their pasta salad in.
Pasta: A fun idea would be to serve various types of pasta such as Tri-Colored Bowtie or Spirals, Penne or even Macaroni for the kiddos.
Mix-ins/Toppings: I like the idea of giving guests TONS of options for their toppings and mix-ins. Foods such as marinated artichoke hearts, cheese cubes, green or black olives, cherry or grape tomatoes, onions, carrots, sun dried tomatoes, beans, bell peppers, salami, chicken, and tofu are all great in pasta salad.
Dressings: By far, my favorite dressing to use in cold pasta salad is the Kraft Zesty Italian dressing. Sometimes I like to mix a little Hidden Valley Ranch dressing in with the Italian to give it a little bit of a creamy texture. You can offer guests a variety of dressings such as Italian or Ranch, Sun Dried Tomato, Balsamic, Pesto or anything else you think would be great with pasta.
Mixing Station: Allow guests to toss their own pasta salad by setting out Bamboo Salad Hands ($18 corebamboo.com).