Cheater’s Pasta Salad

So, this was one of those “It Came From the Cookbook and then got lost” sorts of things I used to make fairly often. Pasta salad kept well, as did chick-pea salads, and I could make it in advance. Also, both are cool, a boon when you stagger in from a flight drenched in perspiration, too exhausted to cook, and too broke to get carry out.

Curly pasta, or bow-tie-pasta, or what ever you want. One package (a pound or so)

Sliced little tomatoes, as many as you want

one small can of black olives, drained

hard cheese (Asiago, Parmashan, Romano, yes, either cut into small cubes or grated) OR

Cheddar or other semi-hard cheese, cubed

one bell pepper – green or fancy – minced

canned artichoke hearts or hearts of palm (if desired) – chopped

carrots – chopped or cut into small rounds

[in other words, clean the crunchies out of your veggie drawer]

something meat-ish if desired – summer sausage, bits of ham, slivers of pepperoni, cooked real sausage cut into rounds, left-over marinated chicken, left-over marinated pork-loin . . . You get the idea.

Cook the pasta to al dente. If you are going to be keeping the salad for a few hours before eating, or even making it the day before, I tend to cook it a little firmer than al dente, so that the dressing doesn’t make it too mushy. Rinse, pour into large bowl, and add everything but the cheese. Stir well.

Dressing – whatever your heart desires. I usually made a vinegar and oil with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a bit of herbs (basil, savory, marjorum, Italian-type herb blend . . . Whatever you like. Brianna’s Blush White is good but might be a little sweet for some {one with strawberry on label}). Or you can use a packaged Italian or similar dressing. You want something that won’t drown the flavors of the other things. A chilled Asian dressing with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and the like also works.

Put in fridge and chill until you return from your flight, or you are ready to serve. If you have used hard cheese, you can add it earlier. Softer cheeses seem to get “icky” so I wait on those.* Serve with warm bread, or more veggies, or leafy greens. This is a meal for when know that you will really need food but don’t want to heat the kitchen or even poke the microwave. (I never had a microwave.)

*I don’t like slick-textured or slimy foods. Other people don’t mind.

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3 thoughts on “Cheater’s Pasta Salad

  1. Great reminder about hard cheese. I don’t like the bits that get slimy or part-melted. It detracts from texture and flavor.

    • To me it really does make the cheese less appealing. The flavor seems weaker and missing something, at least to me. This is especially true in cold things, like salads, sandwiches, antipasti, and so on.

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