Ranch Pasta Salad

BM #106: Week 1, Day 3
Theme : Packed Lunchboxes

It’s almost funny that I am posting this recipe. This is a proper summer pasta salad and it’s a cold, cold day here in Jersey today. The weather was good yesterday and so I thought a salad with fall colors would be great. I wasn’t expecting the temperature to drop so much today.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Even though it’s cold outside, these salads still taste good. When you are having it for lunch, it’s at room temperature and not very cold. My son likes it that way. There is always fruit in his lunchbox, it’s almost always apples and grapes as it stays without getting crushed. Sometimes I add berries in too, but I don’t overcrowd it.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves: 2

Ingredients :

  • 2.5 cups cooked pasta
  • 2 cups diced vegetablesI used cherry tomatoes, orange pepper, zucchini, corn, sliced olives
  • 2 tablespoonsmayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried red chili flakes, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, mix mayo and ranch dressing with salt, red chili flakes and pepper. I use a lot of pepper in pasta salads.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add all the chopped vegetables and the cold pasta.
  3. Mix the dressing, taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve cold.

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Olive oil Pasta Salad

BM #105: Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Pasta Salads

For Day 3, it’s a very simple pasta salad. All it has is olive oil and some dried herbs. It’s my friend’s recipe and she has made it for us a couple of times. Shreyas really loves it. So I thought of blogging it here, that way I won’t forget about it later!

My friend uses dried Italian seasoning, but I have used a mix of various dried herbs. I mostly have oregano and basil, so many times that’s what I use. I add a good dose of freshly ground pepper when making this. I also add more vegetables– chopped tomatoes, zucchini and thawed corn are the usuals. But here I have done it that way my friend does with just broccoli.

To cook broccoli, you can toss it to the pasta pot when pasta is cooking. I usually add it at the last five minutes. This avoids overcooking. The broccoli floats on top, so it’s easy to take it out. I cook the whole pack of pasta and refrigerate it once cool. That way it’s easy for me to pack pasta for my son’s lunch with different sauces.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar,optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice/vinegar if using and the seasonings.
  2. Toss in the pasta and broccoli florets. Mix everything and taste test to adjust seasonings.

Notes:

    You can add more vegetables of your choice to the salad.
    The flavor is Better if the salad rests for an hour or two.

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Black Bean Pasta Salad

BM #105: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Pasta Salads

This is yet another recipe from my bookmarks, this again is from Pavani’s space. She had made this salad for one of the meets and I had gotten the recipe from her. I made the dressing from her space, but not the vegetables. My son is not a fan of pepper or onions, so I ended up adding corn and tomatoes.

The recipe is a summer salad that’s served chilled. That makes it a good choice for lunch boxes as my son can’t heat his lunch. The weather here is not so cold that we can’t have these kind of salads now and then.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad

  • 8 oz pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup thawed corn
  • 1 large tomato, chopped

Method:

  1. Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Drain. Set aside to let it cool.
  2. In a small bowl, mix everything for the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To a mixing bowl, add the pasta, drained black beans, chopped tomatoes, corn and then mix in the dressing. Taste test and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  4. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve.

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Sun-dried Tomato pasta salad

BM #105: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Pasta Salads

The recipe here is from Pioneer woman’s blog, but Pavani was the one who suggested it to me. That was at least a couple of years back. She had prepared it for one of the meets and I got the recipe from her later. I had made it many times when I initially got the recipe, but soon forgot about it. This week’s theme again reminded me about this wonderful salad and so here it is, finally!

The quantity of pasta here is quite a lot. I usually prepare the tomato paste and use it with a small quantity of pasta and olives as needed. The paste has a good shelf life but for me, it gets over very fast. I also skipped the cheese since I didn’t have any that day. I packed this for my son’s lunch couple of times last week. He really loves this!

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • One 7oz jar of sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil, if needed
  • 16 oz packet of pasta
  • 1 small jar of pitted olives, drained and chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Few basil leaves, optional
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Method:

  1. In a food processor, add the tomatoes with the oil, garlic cloves, vinegar and salt and pepper. Blend until you have a paste like mix. You can add more olive oil if there’s a need. I didn’t have to add any. Keep aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Let it cool. Add chopped olives, tomatoes and 3/4 of the tomato paste. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Add few shredded basil leaves and cheese at the time of serving.

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