The Ingredient That Will Change Your Pasta Salad Forever

Pasta salad is one of summer's perks that we absolutely love. Whether you are a fan of fusilli, gemelli, macaroni, penne, or some other pasta shape, pasta salad really allows you to push aside limitations and let your culinary imagination take you to wherever your taste buds want to go. This dish is all about choices, allowing you to bring together creative combinations of proteins, cheeses, leafy greens, oil and mayo based dressings, and everything in between. It's that rich variety of ingredients, flavors, textures, and colors that makes it difficult to go wrong with a pasta salad. 

Not only is it a crowd pleaser that allows you to take full advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables, it is that make-ahead menu staple that makes backyard barbecues, picnics, and late night meals on a hot day so easy. But when pulling this meal together, one of the most important elements of a pasta salad is the seasoning. According to The Kitchn, because pasta salad is served cold, you need to add a little more seasoning than you would with a warm pasta, and thanks to Today, we have a flavor enhancing ingredient that will change your pasta salad forever.

Briny pickle juice will give your pasta salad a boost

According to The Kitchn, your seasoning really starts when you add salt to the water you will boil your pasta in. But salted pasta water is just the beginning. If you really want to create a pasta salad that will have your family and friends shoveling it in the mouths, you need to go big or go home — and that is exactly what pickle juice will do for your favorite recipe. According to Today, pickle juice is the new "it" pasta salad seasoning. The hosts of the morning show sampled a dill pickle ranch pasta salad that used this green wonder juice to cut the fatty flavors of the sour cream and ranch dressing, and were immediately sold.

Today noted the secret to this pickle flavored dressing is all the lovely spices and aromatics floating in the brine. However, if you want to skip the creamy aspects of this pasta salad, you could easily fashion a pickle juice vinaigrette that would work just as well. In fact, Plant Care Today notes it is this juice's composition that makes it the perfect substitute for vinegar. Layer in all the spices that come with it, and you have an umami of flavors to make your pasta salad perfect and your taste buds content. So, the next time you finish off a jar of pickles, hold on to the juice and use it for your pasta salad.