Pasta salad to me is one of those SUPER easy and quick sides you can make that go with just about ANY meal. I personally love pasta salad so much that I'll even eat it as a light lunch or a dinner. HAHA. It's no lie one of my favorite foods but I really don't like any that you find premade at the stores or restaurants. I like to make my own. It's taken me many years to perfect the dressing and lots of experimenting to figure out what were the best additives. But after all that experimenting I now know the exact perfect mixture for my own pasta salad.
For the dressing remember that it's basically a vinegrette dressing. A good rule of thumb for making vinegrette is a 2:1 ration of oil:vinegar. That's how most vinegrettes are. I personally prefer a more "sour" dressing so I make my 2:1 vinegar:oil instead. You can experiment with the ratio and find your own perfect balance but I do suggest starting with a 2:1 ratio. As far as the type of oil I suggest only ever using EVOO. For the vinegar though this is a personal prefernce. I like to use 1.5 parts White Distilled and .5 parts apple cider. Other good vinegars are Balsamic Vinegar, Raspberry Vinegar, Red Whine Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, and just about any sort of "flavored" vinegar out there. Ones that might not make a very good vinegar would include Malt Vinegar and Rice Vinegar. Rice Wine Vinegar would be a personal preference sort of thing.
Once you have your base for your dressing figured out you then get to start playing with spices and herbs. Here's a list of the spices that I find are good:
Once you figure out the type of herbs you like in yours then comes the fun part!! Figuring out your "veggie" additives. Here's a list of all the veggies I have found that are great in pasta salad:
Next is your cheese. I have found that Feta and Parm are the 2 best cheeses. I like to mix in the Feta cheese and then sprinkle the top with parm. Romano is another good one but I don't usually use it for mine. Just like everything else that I post in the way of recipes play with it. It may not come out perfect the first time or even the second. But don't give up. Keep playing with it and eventually you'll find your perfect pasta salad. :)