Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Summer Salad Time

In the summer there are a lot of days when I just don't want to cook.

One of the easiest ways to handle this for us is a pasta salad. On a recent weekend I used it as a side dish the first night with bar-b-que, then put in the protein additions the next day for a full meal salad. It is also one of those things that you can use to clear out little bits and pieces of fresh veggies that are hanging out in your crisper since you can toss in a lot of different veggies.

This is also a great thing to make and take to an outdoor event in the summer as there is no mayonnaise (so you won't be killing the guests!)

Here's the way I do it:

Required Ingredients:
1 pound of shaped pasta -- fusilli (twisted), farfalli (bowties), shells -- I like the ones made with veggie paste because they are pretty too, but just plain is fine

1 small bottle of Italian dressing (I like the low fat variety best)

Cook the pasta to slightly more than al dente, and use some salt in the water or the pasta will taste "flat", when its done, rinse with cold water until its all room temperature or cooler

Add in veggies:
peas (fresh are great, but defrosted frozen ones work good too)
green onions

Cut the veggies in small pieces. Try to use a variety of shapes and colors for visual interest too.

Add in proteins:
cheese -- cubed or shredded
ham pieces
grilled chicken pieces

When all of the ingredients are in the bowl, pour the bottle of dressing over the salad and mix well.

This gets better the longer it marinates together, so having some left to take in a lunch the next day is a good thing.

If you think of something that makes a good addition, let me know what it is in the comments!

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