Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pasta Salad

I hate to post recipes two days in a row, (well, I don't hate it but I worry my non-recipe loving readers will hate it) but I wanted to participate in the carnival at i have to say. Because the theme is for her July Recipe Box Swap is BBQ-main dishes and sides, I didn't think my Sticky Rice with Mangos from yesterday would work and had to choose a new recipe.

Last week I attended my neice's birthday party and took along the pasta salad I threw together. It got rave reviews, as it usually seems to, and was even mentioned in the comments here on my blog. Personally, pasta salad isn't my favorite - too many vegetables and not enough fat I think, but after numerous requests I'm posting this simple recipe which I got from my Mom. I feel silly calling it a recipe even, since it's just a bunch of stuff thrown in with pasta - but people will love you if you take this salad to a potluck!

Start with pasta, one pound; I like to use tri-color spirals for color. Last time I found a pasta that was actually made with different vegetables, which contributed to the color and taste. Cook according to the package directions then drain, rinse, and add to serving bowl(s). One lb of pasta always makes so much more than I plan and when finished fills 2 Pampered Chef batter bowls, 8 cups each.

Add veggies! Use any you like that will taste good raw, or do a quick saute if you like. A type of onion is a must for me, either white, yellow, red, or green. If I use anything but green I will saute them to soften a bit. Other veggies on my list: button mushrooms (quartered, halved, or sliced), zucchini (chunked or sliced), tomatoes (large dice), black olives (sliced from the can). Don't know if olives are really a veggie.

- A must for my friends and family. I like crumbled feta but diced cheddar or Monterrey Jack are great too. Feta holds up the longest uner un-refrigerated conditions, like outdoor BBQs!

Seasonings - Add your favorite oil and vinegar based dressing. You need enough to keep everything wet and give it a good marinade and flavor. Basic Italian or a balsalmic work well. I also like to "kick it up a notch" with a few shakes of red pepper flakes. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese adds great flavor too.

Mix everything well, serve, and wait for the compliments to roll in!


The Fegers said...

I seriously just made this the day before you posted it. You should have switched it's place w/ the mango rice dish. Well, your pasta salad is better, it looks like. I got some slippery pasta that wouldn't stay on a fork and was hard to jab too. My dad was over and had sme and asked for a spoon. Oh well. I like the fresh vegies you addes like zuchini. I would have never thought of that. I used cucumber and shyed away from onions, but now I'll saute them like you suggested!
I used a sun dried tomato dressing that was on sale, probably b/c it would be wierd on a regular salad. I liked it. And good idea about feta holding up at a BBQ. My mom used to cut up peperoni, but who knows what isle that's on at the grocery store. Not worth searching for.

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

I just saw a recipe for crab salad with white beans and an Italian dressing that I want to try (I love crab and white beans). Found that recipe on the back of one of those cheesy "I'm a Realtor: Have a Calendar" brochure things.

I also like to make pasta salad with ranch dressing. mmm-mmm.