Where did last week go? I didn’t get to cook much as I’d have liked last week, so I found myself with a refrigerator full of miscellaneous ingredients that I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with. What do you do with a half bag of leftover spinach, some pepperoni you got on sale, a can of beans, and a half block of mozzarella cheese? Toss them into a bowl and call it a salad! Hey, it worked surprisingly well, and sometimes these “experiments” help you discover amazing flavor combinations. After this mish-mash of ingredients that I’ve decided to call Pepperoni Pasta Salad, I’m pretty sure I’m going to put pepperoni on every salad. It’s rich, salty, and peppery bite was so amazing against the background of mild spinach and pasta. Absolutely perfect!
Although I usually make my own dressings, I do buy them on occasion. I used a bottled dressing for this salad because it’s a lazy Saturday and I have some in my fridge that needs to be used up. Any sort of Italian or Caesar dressing will go really well with this salad, so feel free to use your favorite, whether store bought or homemade. Here are some other ingredients that would also go really well in this salad, if you happen to have them on hand: thinly sliced red onion, black olives, rotisserie chicken, mushrooms, banana pepper rings, roasted red peppers.
P.S. A few of these ingredients were on sale, which really helped bring my cost down. The tomatoes were on sale for $0.99 😱, the Boar’s Head pepperoni were only $2.50 for a 6oz. package, and I got the spinach at Aldi, which is always super inexpensive. Keeping your eyes peeled for sales pays off!
Pepperoni Pasta Salad
Pepperoni Pasta Salad
Pepperoni’s rich and peppery bite is the perfect contrast to mild spinach, mozzarella, and pasta in this Pepperoni Pasta Salad.
- 8 oz. bowtie pasta $0.66
- 1/2 Tbsp salt (for pasta water) $0.02
- 4 oz. fresh baby spinach $0.65
- 15 oz. can kidney beans $0.69
- 3 oz. pepperoni $1.25
- 4 oz. mozzarella, cubed $0.94
- 1 pint grape tomatoes $0.99
- 6 oz. Italian or Caesar dressing $2.00
- 1 Tbsp Parmesan (optional) $0.10
- Freshly cracked pepper (optional) $0.02
Fill a medium sauce pot with water and add 1/2 Tbsp salt. Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat, then add the pasta, and cook until tender. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water to bring the temperature down. Let the pasta drain well.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Roughly chop the spinach leaves and place them in a large bowl. Rinse and drain the kidney beans, and slice the grape tomatoes in half. Add the beans, tomatoes, pepperoni, and cubed mozzarella to the bowl with the spinach.
When the pasta is cooked, cooled, and drained, add it to the bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients. Toss the ingredients until everything is combined. Add the salad dressing and then toss again until everything is coated. Serve the salad with a little Parmesan and some freshly cracked pepper sprinkled over top of each bowl
Step by Step Photos
Begin by filling a medium sauce pot with water and adding 1/2 Tbsp salt. Bring it to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until the pasta is tender. Drain the pasta and briefly rinse with cool water to bring the temperature down. Let the pasta drain while you prepare the rest of the salad. Roughly chop 4 oz. fresh baby spinach, then place it in a bowl.
Also add one 15oz. can of kidney beans (rinsed and drained), 1 pint grape tomatoes (cut in half), 4 oz. mozzarella (cubed) and 3 oz. pepperoni to the bowl.
Once the pasta has cooked, cooled, and drained, add it to the bowl with the other ingredients and toss until everything is combined. If you only plan on eating one portion at a time, you can store it like this and just add dressing prior to serving each portion.
When you’re ready to eat, add about 2 Tbsp of your favorite Italian or Caesar dressing to each serving and toss until everything is coated. Top with a little Parmesan cheese (just a tad) and a light sprinkle of freshly cracked pepper. Enjoy!