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Simply Satisfying Salads

July 6, 2011

CONFETTI PASTA SALAD

Confetti Pasta Salad

Maybe it’s the weather or lack of time that makes it difficult to cook a complete meal.  In both cases, salads are a natural, allowing quick assembly and colorful presentation.  Often the cooking process is little more than boiling some water for pasta, grain or blanching a vegetable.  To satisfy the appetite and for delicious versatility, bulk salads up with fresh vegetables, fruits, flavorful cheeses or a handful of nuts.  This tasty salad, plus three combinations below, is simple to prepare and easy on the budget, too.

CONFETTI PASTA SALAD

6-1/2 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts with liquid
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 rounded tablespoon country-style mustard
1/3 cup chopped marinated sun dried tomatoes
8 ounces tricolor pasta, cooked al dente
½ cup pine nuts
1-1/2 cups shredded Jarlsberg or Jarlsberg Lite cheese
1-1/2 cups celery root, cut matchstick style
1-1/2 cups chopped green (or yellow) pepper

In large salad bowl, mix first 4 ingredients together.  Add remaining ingredients, toss and serve.  Serves  4 – 6.  If you’d like, add chunks of albacore tuna or grilled chicken.

Creamy BLT Salad:  Cook 8 ounces fusilli pasta until al dente. While warm, toss with ¼ pound chopped cooked bacon (or prosciutto), 2 cups cherry tomato halves, 1 packed cup fresh chopped basil (or baby spinach), 1/2 cup chopped walnut halves and 1 4-ounce log fresh goat cheese, crumbled.  We like soft unripened chèvre, from Woolwich Dairy.

Cool Green Bean Salad:  Blanch and immediately cool 1/2 pound skinny string beans.  Chop and combine with cooked couscous (enough to serve 4), 1 large can albacore tuna (drained), ½ cup slivered almonds, 1/4 cup chopped marinated sun dried tomatoes and 2 cups (small cubed) Jarlsberg.  Whisk together ¼ cup fresh lemon juice with ½ cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon mustard and, to taste, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Tip:  If you don’t care for couscous, use cooked, cool potatoes instead.

Blueberry Penne Pasta:  Cook 8 ounces penne pasta until al dente.  While warm, toss with 1/2 cup each coarsely chopped pecans or almonds and grated Jarlsberg, 1 packed cup baby arugula, 1-1/2 cups blueberries and 1/4 cup golden raisins (or chopped dried cherries).  Toss with “Cool Green Bean” vinaigrette, adding a touch of honey to it.

Tell us your favorite way to keep summertime cooking easy and light!

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