Saturday, June 4, 2011

Nanette's Pasta Salad

I'm not a big fan of salad dressing, never have been.  I don't like to dip my carrots and celery sticks in ranch, and I don't like globs of dressing on my salads at restaurants.  I made up this pasta salad years ago to appease my need for a salad with flavor that isn't covered in dressing.  It's an original, and I hope you enjoy it.

This is an easy, throw-it-all-together recipe that we make all summer long.  I mix and match the ingredients sometimes, and sometimes I put in just about everything.  It makes a HUGE amount, and we tend to eat on it for a few days at a time.  But it never goes to waste because it's good and everyone likes to grab a bowl.

This pasta salad has about 2/3 veggies and 1/3 pasta.  So if you start with a whole box of pasta, that's a crapload of salad. (One box of pasta will make enough salad for about three days here, and that includes day care kids.)  It travels well since it has no milk products, so take it to church or family potlucks.  It's a whole meal in itself, but we serve ours up with some fresh fruit on the side.  We had fresh peaches tonight. 

This PASTA SALAD has only four major ingredients:

Whole-Wheat or Multi-Grain Pasta
Olive Oil
Dry Italian Dressing Mix

Cook the pasta according to directions and then run under cold water and/or refrigerate until cool. 

Let the dressing mix sit in the olive oil while you chop veggies.  For one whole box of pasta, I use two packets of seasoning and about 1/4 - 1/3 c. olive oil.  (Find the dressing mix usually on the top shelf above other salad dressings in your grocery store.)

Add whatever veggies you like.  I'll just make a list of what I've used in the past.  It's great for those days when you have too much of something out of the garden.  We like the "garbage" version that has a ton of different veggies, but you could make it specific to what you like or change it up a bit by mixing and matching veggies. 

Red, Green, Yellow and/or Orange Sweet Peppers
Green Onion and/or Red Onion
Frozen Peas
Cherry Tomatoes (or any tomato you like)
Garbanzo Beans
Red Beans
Sun-dried tomatoes
Zucchini and/or Yellow Squash
Peperoncinis (I just put mine on the side)

Let it chill through for an hour or two and then enjoy!

Feel free to experiment with it.  It's so easy, but it's one that I constantly get asked for the recipe.  It's so light and flavorful, and I always leave it chunky enough that you can pick out what you do or don't like.  Cheap, quick, easy, and makes a TON of food!

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