happy hump day! i don’t know how the weather is in your neck of the woods but la has been having some gnarly heat waves. as a kid, whenever the weather was like this, my mom and grammy would have a few different salads on deck at all times: tuna, chicken, potato and pasta. the one that was always the most refreshing to me was the pasta salad because it was light and veggie packed. an added bonus is that because it does not have meat or mayo, it holds for quite some time in the fridge if you pack it in an air tight container (up to a week).
i have found that during quarantine, i am often on back to back video conference calls and need something quick to munch on for lunch. i want to be sure i am not making unhealthy choices on the regular i.e. reverting to my teen years and throwing a hot pocket in the microwave. this pasta salad is the perfect solution and once you make it, you are set for lunch for quite some time. it is also a great dish to take to parties/picnics/bbqs. as i got older, i made some modifications to the original recipe. here are the ingredients to make the pasta salad (in either two medium size bowls or one gigantic bowl).
- two boxes of your favorite type of pasta (i typically use rigatoni, bowtie or penne for my pasta salad – this time, i used rigatoni)
- sliver of butter
- garlic salt
- 3 cucumbers
- 20 cherry tomatoes
- 2 yellow bell peppers
- 5 serrano peppers
- 1/2 of a red onion
- 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- bottle of your favorite italian dressing (i used the 15 oz. bottle of wishbone)
- small bottle of mccormick’s perfect pinch salad supreme seasoning (2.62 ounces)
- 2 cups of quattro formaggio from trader joe’s (blend of parmesan, asiago, mild provolone and fontina) – *if you do not go to trader joe’s, 2 cups of just asiago or parmesan will do
- kosher salt (to taste – i gravitate towards salty/savory so this is something i do however, you may think it is seasoned enough without it)
- black pepper (to taste)
quick notes: you can leave out the cheese if you have dairy issues without compromising the dish + you can add chicken if you feel like a meal is incomplete without meat (my mom will occasionally shred the rotisserie chicken from costco and toss it in)
now for the recipe. it is incredibly simple and that is one of the many things i love about it.
- put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil
- add a sliver of butter and some garlic salt to the boiling water
- throw in your two boxes of pasta
- while that is cooking, chop up all of your veggies to your preferred size (cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, serranos and onion)
- once the pasta is cooked, strain it
- pour the pasta into an extra large bowl where you have room to mix everything
- add in all of the chopped veggies, the bottle of italian dressing, a bottle of salad supreme seasoning, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper
- mix well
- store in airtight containers (if not serving immediately)
it is the perfect dish for warm weather. i hope you all enjoy it!