Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pasta Salad

Eating Well had a nice spread on the new pasta salad, emphasis on the salad. Their article got me thinking how I could makeover the traditional pasta salad based on their proportions and lighten it up while still having a ton of flavor and texture. The result is a fun and delicious salad that has endless possibilities of variation. I'm providing my variation below, but use the quantities to make your own version of a pasta salad. And feel free to whip up your own ranch dressing, if you prefer a creamier version of pasta salad.

Pasta Salad
4 cups cooked pasta (2.5 cups dry pasta) (I used orecchiette)
4-6 cups vegetables (I used red peppers, cucumber, kale raab, spinach, snap peas, and leeks)
2 cups protein (I used chicken)
1/2 cup flavor boost (I used provolone cheese and toasted slivered almonds)
3/4 cup dressing (I used a homemade muscat orange champagne vinaigrette)

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain but do not rinse. Cool on a sheet pan.

2. Cut vegetables, protein and flavor boosters in similar shapes.

3. Combine pasta, vegetable, protein and flavor boosters in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. ENJOY!

Pasta: try to pick something that will allow the dressing to grab onto it (fusilli, elbow, orecchiette)

Proteins: chicken, eggs, turkey, beef (flank steak would be very nice), tuna, ham, beans (chickpeas!)

Vegetables: broccoli, onions, tomatoes, kale, carrots, celery, fennel, mushrooms, peas, zucchini, arugula

Flavor Boosts: nuts, pepperoncini, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, salami, cheese, olives

Dressings: whatever you love!

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