This is a classic for a lot of reasons. It's easy. It uses up all sorts of vegetables. You can lighten it up by using less oil. It won't spoil nearly as fast as a mayonnaise coated pasta salad. And it just plain tastes good.
Italian Pasta Salad
1 large box of pasta - bowties or the little salad ones are both good in this
1/3 c. red onion, diced small
2 T. red wine vinegar, or use another mild vinegar like rice vinegar
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 c. cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters
1 c. bell pepper, chopped into chunks, use a mix of green, red, and yellow
1 c. sliced olives
1 c. sliced radishes or daikon
1 c. shredded carrots
1 c. mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 c. white vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. garlic powder
Start by making the dressing - put everything in a bowl or shaker bottle. Beat until blended. It will separate quickly, so just whisk it together again or shake it up good right before you pour it.
Set the dressing aside.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the pasta. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside to finish draining.
Put onions and vinegar in the bottom of a large bowl. Let it soak for at least 5 minutes.
Add the vegetables and cheese to the onions. Toss to coat with vinegar. Add the pasta. Pour half the dressing over the top. Toss everything gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Toss salad again. Add more dressing if desired. Serve cold.