So my momma makes awesome Italian pasta salad, despite being not even a little bit Italian. I am going to include her recipe below, and then list my changes below that.
1 bag/box rainbow rotini (16 oz)
1/4 head broccoli, chopped
1/4 head cauliflower, chopped
1 package pepperoni, sliced
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, marinade reserved
1 bottle Wishbone Italian dressing
Boil the pasta. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli and cauliflower to the pot. When pasta is done, drain. Chop the artichoke hearts. Coat the pasta and veggies with cheese while hot. Add garlic powder. When cool, add the rest of the veggies & pepperoni and add the dressing.
My changes: I leave out the onion and the pepperoni. I also use a whole head of broccoli and a whole head of cauliflower to up the veggie quotient. I also add a few chopped carrots and chopped sun-dried tomatoes and sliced black olives. I used the sun-dried tomatoes that come in a package, not the ones in the jar. They're a little salty, so I chop them pretty small. I also add everything together--except the dressing--while it's hot. I add about half the dressing while its hot--mainly because I always want to eat it, even while it's hot. Then I let it cool and add more as needed. I also use reduced-fat, store brand Italian dressing because I am cheap!
I love this pasta salad. It makes a really large amount, so it's great for a picnic or potluck, but I love it so much that I always eat way more than I should. Leaving out the pepperoni, it will make vegetarians happy, and if you've got vegans in the crowd, I guess you can leave out the cheese--but what a shame that would be!