Pasta salad has a lot to offer. It’s tangy, savory, refreshing, and oh-so satisfying. It comes together in little time, can be made ahead, and is easy to transport, making it the perfect picnic food.
This versatile dish can taste however you want—from classic flavors (think: black olives, cubes of cheese, and pepperoni) to an Italian-style twist (such as sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, and salami). It’s easy to switch up the ingredients to better suit your tastes, or the contents of your cupboards.
But as endlessly adaptable as it is, there’s one thing that should be a constant in your pasta salad recipes: fusilli. This corkscrew-shaped pasta has a huge impact on the outcome, from how easy it is to eat to just how flavorful the pasta salad is.
Here’s why fusilli is the best shape for pasta salad.
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1. It traps flavor in its nooks and crannies.
Fusilli’s spiral is like pasta velcro; the dressing and other bits of ingredients get stuck in the spiral. No more dressing sitting at the bottom of the bowl.
2. The shape is flexible.
The corkscrew bends around other ingredients during and after preparation, rather than breaking into unsightly pieces as you stir to combine everything. (I'm looking at you, rigatoni.)
3. It’s easy to spear with a fork.
The fusilli collapses slightly when speared, making it easy to fork up along with the rest of those delicious ingredients, resulting in the perfect bite.