Some folks show love with gifts or kind words, hugs or sentimental cards. Me? I show love with food. You knew that, didn’t you? This week a man who has been a second father to me for 20 years is going through radiation treatments because his cancer has returned. Naturally, I wanted to do something and so I begged him to let me bring dinner. I say “begged” because he’s a WWII veteran who is stubborn and fiercely independent. But I wore him down. He agreed that I could bring him some pasta salad.
I suggested pasta salad because it’s been hot hot hot here and I thought it would be refreshing to eat. Of course, I also made banana bread and ginger cookies and added a jar of my strawberry jam. Great! Now that I blabbed about this, I won’t get credit in Heaven. Sigh… but I wanted to share the recipe, along with my ideas of what to bring those who are going through difficult times. I’d love to know what you do and how you show concern. Credit or not here we go.
Pasta salad has a way of growing to giant proportions when I make it. I love to chop veggies and to see their color combinations play against each other to liven up the pasta.
And I make the entire dish in one pot – my largest pot. The pot I use to make jam. And there are no measurements, although I tried to jot notes as I went along. But you can make this any way you like.
This isn’t really a recipe – it’s more of a reminder. Remember to make pasta salad. It’s summer, already.
And if you goof – and make a huge batch, you’ll have an excuse not to cook for a few days. Because you can’t let all those incredible ingredients go to waste. Oh yes, the ingredients. Here’s a general idea.
12 oz package of “Wacky Mac”- which are vegetable pasta in different shapes. You use whatever you like. But don’t call it macaroni.
1/2 red and green peppers, diced
1 small sweet onion, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 cup cooked edamame (soybeans)
1 cup carrots, diced
8 oz bag cheese cubes
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1 pound turkey ham, cubed (any cooked meat will work, or a combination of several)
1 cup light Italian dressing
1 cup light mayonnaise
Boil the pasta until it’s almost done. You want it to still have some “tooth.”
Drain the pasta in a large colander. While it’s draining, wash the pot so you can assemble the salad in it.
Add all of the ingredients and mix together.
Keep the salad very cold until ready to serve.
Serve over a bed of lettuce.
Add avocado and tomatoes on top.
Other options: sprinkle your salad with sunflower seeds, croutons or crushed taco chips to add crunch.
Note: the vegetables and dressing give this a lot of flavor, so I didn’t add herbs or salt. But you can add whatever you like to liven it up.
The great thing about pasta salad is that it’s so versatile. And when you combine all the crunchy vegetables and the soft noodles, I mean pasta, your mouth will be in picnic heaven.