Pasta Salad, the Series

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Mexican Pasta Salad, too pretty to toss…almost.

I usually try to stay away from pasta (i.e. simple carbs) not because I don’t like it, but because I love it. But because it’s easy nowadays to find more healthful, complex options on the market, and–let’s face it–pasta makes for easy cooking, I’ve welcomed it back into my life joyously.

Lately, I’ve gotten really into pasta salads when I’m prepping for my trips. It’s so easy to keep your ultra  menu PHresh by mixing up limitless different flavor combinations; it can be served cold, so I don’t need to worry about heating it up on the plane; and it’s really cost effective, which definitely matters to me because, well, I don’t do this job for the money.

A couple recipes I like to throw together are Mexican and Balsamic pasta salads. You can take these as recipes or mere guidelines for your own creations.

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A healthier version I don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

Mexican Pasta Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta (I used brown rice and quinoa fusilli, which has more fiber and protein than traditional versions)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup corn (I roasted some frozen corn over the stove to add a little smokiness)
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro dressing (I used the Trader Joe’s brand)

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Creamy Cilantro Salad Dressing from Trader Joe’s. They really ought to start paying me…

 

Directions:

  1. Cook your pasta al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse, and let cool.
  2. Mix all ingredients.
  3. Serve.

Too easy! Nobody can say they can’t cook.

 

Balsamic Pasta Salad with Hot Italian Sausage

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta
1 lb. hot Italian sausage
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 cup marinated sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned or torn into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little for browning sausage
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

 

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This is the best balsamic vinegar out there! So delicious.

Directions:

  1. Set two pots of water to boil: one for the pasta, and one for the sausage.
  2. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Drain, rinse, and let cool.
  3. While pasta is cooking, add whole sausages to the second pot of boiling water. Boil about 10 minutes until sausage is cooked through.
  4. Remove sausage from pot, slice evenly. In a pan over medium-high heat, brown with a little olive oil, a minute or two each side.
  5. Combine all ingredients and mix it up.
  6. Serve.

Remember to let your creative energy flow and make each recipe your own.

To be continued…14212588_10208700716409244_2897196276272682999_n

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