Tuesday, June 10, 2014

(Make Your Own) Pasta Salad



Pasta Salad - YOUR way!

It's finally hot outside! (and humid...let's not forget that.) All the same, I'm loving every warm, sunny day! Now, during a hard (hot) day of baking and yard work, I was in the mood for a colorful, cold pasta salad - but oh what kind do I make!? How much dressing? How many veggies? How much pasta!? Well, lucky for you, I have already fretted over these questions, and after much estimating (and Pinterest pasta salad recipe searching), I've got a great base recipe for pasta salad! I'll show you how I made my pasta salad, with what was in my "fridge-of-goodies," and explain how you can transform this to make your own pasta salad!


First thing's first - you must assess your ingredients! Use whatever veggies you have on hand, any pasta you find in the pantry - even dare to make it a twist on leftovers! (Plus, there's no need to go out and buy an entire pack of bell peppers if you're only going to use 1/2 cup, or a zucchini if you only need half. See what's hiding in that vegetable drawer, first!) Below are the ingredients I had on hand, cut up and ready to go!

With pasta salad, practically anything goes! It's a canvas for true creativity and posh. For example, you could go vegetarian and substitute beans or eggs for the tuna. Perhaps you have leftover ham or turkey in the fridge? Chop it up and toss it in! You could even try adding fresh dill and cucumbers! (My mind is racing with ideas before my fingers can type now...) If you find your salad is too dry, whip up some more dressing or simply drizzle the salad with a bit more olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper. *I usually use garlic salt in cooking because it tends to add a great hint of flavor. Of course, this does not apply to baking (Yum.. garlic-y chocolate chip cookies - no thanks!)


*As a tip, do not rinse the pasta with cold water to 'chill' it faster for the salad. Doing so could prevent the dressing from properly sticking to the pasta. (No one wants slippery, unflavored pasta, right?) I'd recommend making this salad in advance and keeping it in the fridge until serving (overnight would be ideal, plus then the flavors have time to become better acquainted...) Of course, making it up for that day's lunch may require some quick 'freezing' an hour or so beforehand.


Can we also take a moment to appreciate how colorful and healthy this pasta salad is? Full of veggies, grains, a small bit of healthy fats (from the dressing), those beautiful herbs... (and all topped with a bit of 'posh!' - what more could you possibly ask of a simple salad like this!?) So, next time it's hot and humid, and you're in the mood for a refreshing lunch (or even a side dish to dinner), see what you have for leftovers and create! Make your own pasta salad, and don't forget the posh!
With love (for food),
Ellen
--A dash of posh can make all the difference in your next dish!--