As we cling desperately to the last few precious weeks of summer, it’s important to squeeze in as much summer-y, barbecue-y food as humanly possible. But understandably, near the end of summer, you’re ready for a little flavor switch-up. Here’s where this tangy honey chipotle pasta salad comes in to save the day. All the familiar summer bbq pasta salad feels with a deliciously different twist.
First off, let’s talk about the sauce. If you know me, you know I’m beyond obsessed with Chipotle’s salad dressing, and the dressing on this pasta salad is a testament to it: smoky chipotles in adobo, sweet honey, and tangy red wine vinegar. Banana peppers are a pasta salad must-have in my opinion, and I also added tomatoes and chives, (but any other typical pasta salad veggies would work here too).
Now listen, because this is very, very important: you must let this sit in the fridge before eating for like A MINIMUM of two hours. Preferably like two days (not joking) so all the flavors come together in harmony. I liked this pasta salad the day I made it, but I didn’t realize what true love was until I was standing in front of my fridge, four days later, devouring every morsel from the tupperware container. There’s something about the smaller ditalini pasta shape that makes this so fun and addictive to eat.
- ½ lb. ditalini pasta
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- ½ Tbsp. dijon mustard
- ½ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup banana peppers, drained and chopped
- ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved, (or 1 vine-ripe tomato, diced)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chives, minced
- Cook the ditalini pasta in salted, boiling water according to the package instructions and drain.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: in a medium bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, honey, chipotles in adobo, dijon, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder together.
- Slowly stream the olive oil into the dressing, whisking constantly to combine. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta in a large serving bowl, and stir in the banana peppers, tomatoes, and chives.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to several days.