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Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad

I'm a huge fan of pasta salads. Whenever there's a picnic or potluck, I usually fill up on the pasta first. I just love to have bits and pieces of veggies, fruits, and meats altogether in one dish. For lunch/dinner today, we had this delicious Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad.

My favorite part of this salad was the yummy bacon! I went a little crazy, and ended up cooking up the entire package, instead of the prescribed 8 strips. It was definitely worth it. If you knew my family, you'd know we are big bacon eaters. It's like candy to us - so addicting. Speaking of addicting, is it possible to eat just ONE cashew? I didn't realize how splendorous cashews are until today. I've been missing out.

This recipe is such a keeper! The flavors were true to the ingredients, without drastic alterations. I love this dish so much. I can't wait to have it again for lunch tomorrow. Plus, as I mentioned before, it's a meal with a fruit, veggie, grain, and protein included - always a good thing, eh?

Once again, I found this recipe on Pinterest, and was pretty nervous to make it. Why? Gotta please the husband for dinner... I've suggested making a pasta salad for dinner every so often since we got married, and I get this funny/worried look in return. I'm glad I just went ahead and made it this time, without seeing what Ryan thinks. Well, ladies and gents, the hard-core-man-food-eater liked the "girly" pasta salad. I think it had something to do with the aforementioned bacon. And, he'll no longer laugh when I explain "grapes" as an ingredient. It adds great texture, and in his words "was lovely". I think he's been watching too much Food Network with me (not a bad thing, I say).


Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
(with my commentary) 
1 cup chopped pecans (I used 1/2 cup pecans, and 1/2 cup cashews - I had them already for a recipe later this week, and didn't want to have to buy another package of pecans to make a cup)
1/2 (16-oz.) package farfalle (bow-tie) pasta   
1 pound fresh broccoli  
1 cup mayonnaise (I only used a half cup)
1/3 cup sugar (I only used about 1/8 cup)
1/3 cup diced red onion 
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (skipped this one altogether, and it still tasted delicious)
1 teaspoon salt  
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved (I couldn't find red grapes in my local grocery store, so I used green grapes. I thought I'd be dissatisfied, but I really loved the bite it brought to the pasta salad)
8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled (again, we overdosed, and will never go back)

     Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife. Peel away tough outer layer of stems, and finely chop stems. Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat. Cover and chill 3 hours. Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.


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