Posted by: literallydelicious | March 25, 2010

Evelyn’s Tri-Color Pasta Salad

My mother-in-law wasn’t an avid cook, as far as I know. She did holiday meals, but usually when we came home on visits, we went out to eat. She usually had something sweet back at the house for dessert — I remember sitting on her back porch one warm spring day eating vanilla ice cream out of cantaloupe halves. I love ice cream, and I love cantaloupe, but I’d never thought about combining them. Yumm!

This was our son’s favorite dish of all his Grandma P. ever made. He’s always loved pasta — must be the Italian in him, or maybe because his dad and I love it, too. The last time we had dinner with him and his family, just a few weeks ago, on the menu (besides great steak!) was pasta salad. Some tastes you never grow out of.

Like me with macaroni and tomato juice. My mom was one of twelve kids during the Depression. Grandma Davidson had to stretch every grocery dollar until it snapped, so one of the dishes they ate — and one Mom fed us when we were kids and she was doing the same stretch — was macaroni with tomato juice. You boil the pasta until tender, drain it, pour in tomato juice and heat it till it’s hot. Plain, simple, filling and yumm!

We moved away from Oklahoma when our son was 3 months old — Bob was in the Navy, and we did the Class-A military tour of the South (plus  four years in San Diego). One time when Mom came to visit, I fixed macaroni with tomato juice for lunch. She was . . . um, is appalled too strong a word or not strong enough? We were making good money, living in a five-bedroom house, traveling a lot for my day job, and she couldn’t believe we were deliberately eating such plain food.

I still love macaroni and tomato juice, especially with a little mozzarella or Parmesan sprinkled on. Too good!


1 16-ounce package tri-color pasta twists

1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 small jar chopped pimientos, drained

1 small can pitted sliced black olives, drained

Italian salad dressing (Evelyn preferred Seven Seas, so that’s what I’ve always used)

white pepper and fresh grated Parmesan to taste

1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain well and place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Serve warm or chilled.

(When this has been refrigerated overnight, it really soaks up the dressing, so you may need to add more the next day.)



  1. This sounds good!
    Know what you mean about moms stretching the dollar. My mom could make one pound of hamburger feed four people four meals.

    • She was talented, your mom was. I can probably get close to that with some soup/stew recipes. I love them for the veggies and pasta more than the meat, though.

  2. My mom had the ability to feed a platoon on a few pennies. Our ‘poor folks’ meal was pinto beans and corn pone. I don’t fix that one much.

    I like the pasta salad recipe. I have a really good linguine salad that I like to make.

    • I love beans once in a great while. They really remind me home.

      Want to share your linguine salad recipe? 🙂

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