If you’re looking for the perfect salad for a holiday party, try this Christmas Pasta Salad recipe. It’s served at room temperature, so it’s easy to transport. And the broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and pomegranate seeds give it holiday flair with red and green colors.
I love the flavor of roasted, carmelized Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Combined with mozzarella cheese and Kalamata olives, the flavor is outstanding. Add pomegranate seeds, and you get even more flavor and the color is beautiful.
This recipe is vegetarian and can be made vegan if you omit the cheese.
If you want to add meat to the salad, try prosciutto or cooked bacon or diced cooked chicken. You could also add cooked shrimp.
If you can’t get a hold of pomegranate seeds, you can substitute dried cranberries or cherry tomatoes chopped in half.
Christmas Pasta Salad
Pasta, bow-tie or fusilli, rice or regular pasta (1/2 pound) — where to buy pasta
Sea salt or kosher (generous handful, plus extra to taste)
Brussels sprouts (1 pound)
Broccoli (1 big stalk)
Olive oil (enough to cover vegetables) — where to buy olive oil
Mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
Kalamata olives, pitted (1 jar)
Pomegranate, fresh (1)
Freshly ground black pepper — where to buy black pepper
1. Fill the stock pot with water according to pasta instructions.
2. Add a generous handful of sea salt or kosher salt to the pasta water.
3. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to instructions.
4. While the pasta is cooking, cut the stem ends off the Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and cut the Brussels sprouts in half.
5. Spread the Brussels sprouts and broccoli on a cookie sheet and douse with olive oil until well coated.
6. Turn the oven on Broil and set the rack just above the middle (close to the top).
7. Broil for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned and carmelized. Take the cookie sheet out every once in a while to check, and using tongs, toss the Brussels sprouts and broccoli so they are evenly cooked.
8. Drain the pasta in a colander, rinse with cold filtered water, then drain again.
9. Take the Brussels sprouts and broccoli out of the oven and let it cool.
10. Cut up the cheese into small bite-sized chunks. Set aside.
11. Cut the Kalamata olives in half and set aside.
12. Take the pomegranate, carefully slice it lengthwise from end to end in 2-4 places.
13. Fill the sink with filtered water and put the pomegranate into the sink. Using your hands, remove the seeds from the pomegranate and put them in a bowl. Using the water method will prevent you from making a mess with the juice, which stains.
14. Add the drained, cooled pasta to a large serving bowl.
15. Add the cheese cubes, Kalamata olives, and Brussels sprouts and broccoli to the bowl.
16. Add sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and, if necessary, extra olive oil to taste.
17. Top with pomegranate seeds.
18. Serve at room temperature.