Preserving pasta salad isn't as simple as putting it in a container and freezing it. Some ingredients are not freezable and you don't want a soggy salad. Therefore, preparing a pasta salad for freezing begins before you start cooking. There are a few tricks to making a freezable pasta salad, which will taste close to fresh.
Things You'll Need
Sealable freezer bags
Al dente Pasta
Cook the pasta al dente. Make sure the pasta is very firm but edible when you stop cooking it. When you reheat or thaw the pasta, it will be softer. Freezing al dente pasta ensures that the pasta doesn't get mushy.
When you remove the pasta from the boiling water, immerse the cooked pasta in cold water to prevent it from cooking further.
Lay the pasta flat in a freezing container and use a baking sheet to add layers of flat pasta into the container. When they are completely frozen, you may transfer them into a freezable plastic bag if the pasta container take up too much room in your freezer. This prevents the pasta from sticking together.
Freezing the Vegetables
Some vegetables are not suitable for freezing. Do not freeze vegetables with high-water content, such as lettuce and cucumbers; prepare these on the day you thaw the pasta, if you chose to add them. You can freeze spinach, peas, broccoli and carrots. Place the cooked vegetables in sealable freezer bags after they have cooled.
Freezing the Dressing
Do not freeze cream-based dressings. Eggs and egg-based sauces, such as mayonnaise, do not thaw well; they will curdle and ruin your pasta salad. Rather, freeze Italian dressing or soy sauce as ice cubes to go along with your pasta salad. Even if the oil in Italian dressing prevents the dressing from solidifying, it will be fresh to use and maintain its flavor.
- Do not freeze soft herbs, such as basil, parsley, cilantro and chives; they will go brown.
Preparing the Pasta salad
As a safety precaution, let the pasta, dressing and vegetables thaw in the refrigerator overnight before combining the ingredients. Mix in all of the thawed ingredients and serve. Do not refreeze and eat the pasta salad on the day you thaw it.
- Cooked pasta dries out when it is frozen for long periods of time. Eat the pasta within a month.
- For convenience or on-the-go lunches, combine the pasta, dressing and vegetables in the same freezer container.
- You can freeze cheese; however, grate it first, as blocks of cheese will crumble.
- Do not freeze cream cheese and cottage cheese -- they will become watery when you thaw them.