Elevate Your Pasta Salad With A Drizzle Of Spicy And Sweet Glaze

To make the ultimate pasta salad, there are a few staples that are usually included: savory cheese, fresh herbs, and a tangy dressing ... although that last one is debatable. While a zesty, creamy dressing or vinaigrette is always welcome on pasta salad, you may want to try elevating the dish with a sweet and spicy glaze instead.

Vinaigrettes and thick dressings are the go-to toppings for pasta salads, and for a good reason. While vinaigrettes use their acidity to brighten up fresh ingredients without weighing down the salad, a good creamy dressing brings velvety comfort. If you want to deliver a whole new dimension of flavor to your pasta salads, however, a sweet and spicy glaze is the way to go. While the spice sets your tongue aflame, the sweetness brings delightful relief while balancing the salty, sour flavors of the cheese.

Something like hot honey is the perfect match for a hearty pasta salad filled with crisp chicken and juicy cherry tomatoes. Even with toppings like a mild, salty mozzarella, hot honey brings out the nuances of each ingredient. You don't have to totally abandon the dressing in favor of the glaze; it can easily work in conjunction with whatever dressing you use. For example, top off a refreshing pasta salad with spicy, maple-glazed salmon and a lemon vinaigrette that cuts through the sweetness.

Sweet and spicy glazes bring a mix of flavors to the party

A colorful toasted sesame noodle salad features a bed of noodles and crisp vegetables finished off with a tangy, spicy mix of rice vinegar, lime juice, honey, and red chili flakes. If you want to amp up the sweetness, top it with a sticky soy glaze. Made with soy and hoisin sauces, as well as honey and red pepper flakes, it features some of the ingredients from the dressing, so the glaze won't taste like a total departure from the salad. Drizzle it on top following the dressing or punch up the chicken by glazing it first.

If you want to focus more on the sweetness, chili crisp hot honey features spicy, tangy flavors steeped in the saccharine condiment. This glaze is the perfect accompaniment to a panzanella-style beef and noodles summer salad. The thick chili crisp honey brings out the richness of the tomatoes and is a great sticky, sweet dip for the crunchy pieces of bread. Toss the noodles in the honey before plating or brush some of it onto the beef.

While honey will forever be the perfect glaze ingredient, pomegranate is underrated in the sweetness it can bring to pasta salads. Simmer down the juice to make pomegranate molasses and sprinkle in some red pepper flakes to bring a kick of heat to the tangy sauce. An ideal glaze for Mediterranean dishes, drizzle spicy pomegranate molasses over veggie antipasti Italian pasta salad and enjoy!