I brought this pasta salad over to my sister's house last week for her gender reveal party. We are so excited for Owen to have a cousin so close in age to grow up with! This pasta salad was one of our sides dishes paired with a variety of different gourmet sandwiches and it seemed to be a big hit with everyone there. I doubled the original recipe so this version makes a very large amount but it's perfect for entertaining. She and her husband then enjoyed the leftovers as lunch for a few days. It has a bunch of different flavors and textures going on which are different from traditional pasta salad. The grapes are sweet, the bacon brings a salty aspect to the creamy dressing and the fresh raw broccoli and pecans gives it a nice crunch. Although I'm not a huge fan of mayo based salads this dressing was light enough for me to enjoy. In fact I called to see if we could have some leftovers as well but was disappointed to find out they were already all gone, I guess I'll just have to make it again :)
1 Box Bow-Tie Pasta
2 lbs Fresh Broccoli Florets
4 Cups Red Grapes - Halved
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
12 Slices Bacon - Crispy & Crumbled
1/3 Cup Red Onion - Finely Diced
2 Cup Light Mayo
2/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
Adapted from: http://www.mymommystyle.com/
Prepare the pasta accordingly to package. Cook bacon until crisp and put on a paper towel to soak up some of the grease, once it's cool enough to handle crumble it. Dice up your onion, halve your grapes and cut your broccoli florets into bite size pieces.
In your largest bowl combine the drained pasta with the grapes, broccoli, onion, bacon and pecans pieces. Every time I added an ingredient or two to the pasta I tossed it as much as possible to mix everything together. In retrospect I needed a bigger bowl to add the dressing so it wouldn't all spill out when I was mixing.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together your mayo, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper. Pour about half of the dressing over the top of the pasta salad and toss to combine. Once you feel that has worked it's way in, pour the rest of the dressing on top and toss again making sure to get all of the ingredients at the bottom of the bowl covered in the dressing. I suggest making this at least a few hours in advance of serving if not the day before so it can cool in the fridge and absorb all of the flavors.
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