Pasta Salad Week: Tips to Freezing Pasta Salads (and MPM)

On June 27, 2011 by Kelly

I mentioned on Facebook last week that we had decided to make this week Pasta Salad Week at Once A Month Meals. You know, because we don’t have anything else to do with new July freezer menus coming out on Friday! HA!

Sneak Peek at a Pasta Salad from this week's Pasta Salad Week Series

Sneak Peek at a Pasta Salad from this week’s Pasta Salad Week Series

With 4th of July rounding the bend. (Seriously, where did June go?) We thought it would be fun to bring you some great tasting pasta salads that you could serve up to holiday guests. Or for picnics the rest of the summer. And in MOST cases you can make pasta salads ahead. And yes, you can even freeze them. BUT there are a few tricks of the trade that help make them taste as fresh and flavorful as when you first prepared them.

Here are a few helpful suggestions for freezing pasta salads:

  • Only cook the pasta al dente (meaning the smallest amount of time suggested on the package or even a minute or two before that time).
  • Remove pasta immediately from the boiling water and run cold water over it to stop the cooking process. Chilled water will work too.
  • When packaging the pasta salad in freezer bags, of course, use freezer plastic bags or containers.
  • Package the liquid ingredients of the pasta salad SEPARATELY from the pasta, vegetables, etc. Thaw all ingredients and mix in liquid ingredients no more than a couple hours before serving. This keeps the pasta from absorbing all of the liquid and getting mushy during freezing/thawing.
    • An example: Pasta and vegetables in a gallon freezer bag, liquid dressing in a pint freezer bag, place sealed pint bag inside gallon freezer bag and freeze “together”.
  • If the pasta salad used highly water based vegetables/fruits, consider packaging these separately from the pasta also and/or waiting and adding them just before serving. Commonly used water based vegetables/fruits in pasta salads may include: green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, celery.
  • Liquid ingredients that are cream based (mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, etc) may not thaw as nicely or separate after freezing. You can do it but it may not have the best effect that you want. However, you could mix together all the other liquid ingredients/spices/seasonings and then once thawed add the cream ingredients. This would help you to save time but not result in separation.

I hope these helpful hints work for you. And I hope that you will enjoy our Pasta Salad Week offerings. Stay tuned every afternoon around 3 for the days featured salad.

Menu Plan Monday

Just an average, ordinary, not so busy week for us! YAY! My husband just got a new gas grill, he insisted begged pleaded whined asked for a Weber so we are doing A LOT of grilling these days. I love it too because it means that I can get it going and warm for his arrival home and no more waiting over an hour for charcoal to get ready. It is a win/win in my book! And as always, I have listed what the little people are eating for lunch too!

Toddler eating popsicle

Monday

Tuesday

  • Toddler Lunch – Individual Pizzas, peaches, carrot sticks
  • Dinner – Pizza night, can’t decide what topping combination but DEFINITELY using this pizza dough I have in the freezer.

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Toddler Lunch – Going out for lunch
  • Dinner – leftovers

Friday

  • Toddler Lunch – Fish Sticks, California vegetables, grapes
  • Dinner – Pork Chops, Orzo pasta recipe I am creating, fruit salad

Saturday – Lunch – Brunch at 2nd Street Farmers Market

Dinner – Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Hamburgers, French Fries, fruit

Sunday – Lunch – leftovers

Dinner – ? – what are your best go-to grill recipes?

For more great Menu Plan Monday menu planning ideas visit orgjunkie.com!

5 Comments

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  1. The alfredo and pizza dough made my list! Thanks for sharing 🙂 That pasta salad looks yummy! Can’t wait to read about it. 🙂

    1. Not sure on the time length. My best guess is 1-3 months, in casseroles probably up to 6 months. Cucumbers will get soggy because they are largely water, thus adding them when ready to serve is best.

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