This pasta salad has all the flavors of a classic Chicago style hot dog and a zesty dressing to tie it all together. The perfect pasta salad for a backyard barbecue!
If you've never had a Chicago Style Hot Dog, I suggest you give it a try, ASAP! If you're already familiar with the Chicago staple, I know you're going to love this pasta salad.
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What is a Chicago Style Hot Dog?
Chicago style hot dogs are the quintessential Chicago street food. It's an all beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, tomato wedges, a dill pickle spear, bright green sweet pickle relish, sport peppers and celery salt. The hot dogs are usually steamed or simmered in water but they can also be grilled, in which case they are referred to as "char dogs".
Why this pasta salad works
As much as I'd like to be able to turn everything into a pasta, it doesn't always work. This recipe, however, is perfect as a pasta salad. The reason why this recipe works is because the ingredients for a Chicago hot dog, are ingredients that you would already find in pasta salads. Tomatoes? Check. Onions? Check. Pickled peppers? Sure! Dill pickles? Why not?! Many pasta salads already contain a combination of fresh veggies, pickled or marinated veggies, some type of meat and a dressing. That's what we've got here, only with those familiar Chicago flavors!
I don't live in Chicago, will I be able to find the ingredients?
Luckily, most of the ingredients for a Chicago style hot dog, and this pasta salad, can be found anywhere. Beef hot dogs, yellow mustard, dill pickles, onions, tomatoes, and celery salt should all be easy to find. The two ingredients that might be harder to source are the sport peppers and that classic Chicago bright green relish. For this pasta salad recipe, I decided to use regular old sweet pickle relish for fear that the blue/green stuff might dye the pasta so that just leaves the sport peppers. You are once again, in luck! You'll find everything you need on my amazon storefront and I have a Chicago section, specifically for these types of ingredients. In a pinch, pepperoncini can be a substitute for the sport peppers, but it won't be quite the same. I would definitely buy a jar of the sport peppers. They last forever in the fridge and they're so tasty! I truly eat them almost every day.
Chicago Hot Dog Pasta Salad FAQ
Chicago style hot dogs are made with all beef hot dogs, usually Vienna Beef brand.
This pasta salad can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled. I prefer room temp!
A Chicago style hot dog is served with yellow mustard, which is why I used that for the dressing. You can use spicy brown or dijon instead, but the yellow is really good!
Bummer! Sport peppers are so tasty, I wish they were available everywhere. If you can't find them where you are, pepperoncini is a good substitute or you can order them online.
Chicago Hot Dog Pasta Salad
- 1 Pound short pasta such as rotini, fusilli, penne, or casarecce
- 3 Tablespoons pickle juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 8 Grilled or pan fried all beef hot dogs cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 ¼ Cups tomatoes diced
- ¾ Cup dill pickles diced
- ¾ Cup white onion diced
- ⅓ Cup sweet pickle relish
- ¼ Cup sport peppers diced, plus a few whole peppers for garnish
For the dressing
- ⅓ Cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1-2 Teaspoons liquid from the sport pepper jar to taste
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 Teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ Teaspoon celery salt
- ½ Teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ Teaspoon cracked black pepper
- In a large pot of well salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. Rinse the pasta under cold water until the pasta has cooled. Drain very well and then transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add the pickle juice and olive oil and toss to coat.
- Grill or pan fry the hot dogs until warmed through and slightly charred. Cut into bite sized pieces.
- Whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing together. Taste and adjust to your preference.
- Add all of the ingredients to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!