Friday, July 27, 2012

Balsamic Pasta Salad

It's Friday! What are your plans for the weekend? Hopefully, you'll be enjoying time with your family and NOT slaving away in the kitchen every time you get hungry. To make that a reality, spend a few minutes in the kitchen whipping up this simple salad, and keep it at the ready in your refrigerator. Whenever hunger pains hit, this will be waiting for you!

Adapt the veggies to whatever you have on hand or prefer. Carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower. You can even use frozen veggies. If using frozen corn or peas, you can just toss them into the salad after thawing. If using larger frozen veggies, such as green beans. Cook them as directed by the package, but cut the cooking time in half. (You don't want them mushy!) Drain, then immediately "shock" the veggies in a bowl of ice water. Once the veggies are cool, drain thorougly and toss into the salad.

Balsamic Pasta Salad
Source: Adapted from

½ cup balsamic vinegar
1½ tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced (or ½ tsp. garlic powder) 
1 tsp. dry basil
½ tsp. salt
8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
1 cucumber, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2-3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup black olives, sliced

Place the vinegar, oil and spices in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigourously to combine. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Prepare the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped veggies to the bowl.

Give the dressing another shake and pour over the pastas and veggies. Toss. Adjust seasoning to taste. (Depending on the quality of your vinegar, you may need to add a pinch of sugar. Good balsamics are very sweet.) Serve immediately or cover and keep cold in the refrigerator.

Tip: To make this salad a main dish, add a can of drained and rinsed kidney beans. Or you can add 2 cups of cooked chicken breast. Here is a super simple way to cook chicken breasts in the microwave.

Quick Start with MSPI Mama: This is one of my Quick Start recipes.

No comments: