September 25, 2010

Great Multi Grain Pasta Salad Recipe

That good-for-you brown pasta isn't the same in recipes as the yellow kind.  I still like the basic pasta (yes, even the traditional elbows) for a standard pasta salad, but I did monkey around and find a combo of stuff that seems to work pretty well with the hardy whole grain noodles.  Thought I'd share it with you, Dear Reader.

What You Need (Double This if You Want a Big Bowl of Stuff):

6-7 oz of whole-wheat pasta - e.g., 1/2 box of Ronzoni Healthy Heart 7 Grain Fusilli (the corkscrew kind)
1/2 cup good mayo (I like Hellman's Mayo for this)
1/2 container of plain yogurt
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1- 2 T balsamic vinegar  (I like this stuff, so I go for 2 tablespoons, you might not want that much)
stevia powder (I use KAL brand, it's just so much better than the rest) unless you have to use sugar (then 1 t of table sugar)
garlic powder (shake in, stir, test it -- see if you need more.  I like garlic, so I put in more than most)
parm cheese -- grated (put it what tastes good to you, I like a lot of this stuff)
1 bell pepper (red, green, orange -- whatever is cheapest and looks the freshest, get a big one)
4 green onions - chop them all (green leaves n little white orbs)
handful (around 10) black olives, sliced into little circles
3 chopped hard boiled eggs
1 cup chopped grilled chicken or turkey -- great way to use up the leftover roto chicken you brought home from the store
celery if you've got it -- couple of stalks

Here's what you do:
Cook the pasta in boiling water, salting the water before you add the pasta but after it's boiling (saves your pot).  I add oil 2 the water here because I think it helps keep the noodles from clumping, but others will disagree with me.

Drain the pasta, and get it to room temp.  (In a hurry, throw it into the freezer while you are getting the other ingredients together)  You don't want to add hot pasta to the mayo, etc. -- messes things up.

In your big bowl, stir together the mayo, yogurt, oil, vinegar, and the powders (stevia/sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper), shaking them in a bit at a time until you get the combo of spices the way you like it.  Stir this around till it's a smooth dressing for your salad (i.e., if you used sugar, you want it to dissolve). 

Chop up the veggies and the meat. Bite size.  Throw them into the dressing, coat them all up and then add the pasta, stir things around.

Fridge this puppy until it's nice and chilled. 

Tip:  I like to add the parm cheese to the hot pasta, and then the cheese sorta melts and coats the pasta.  This keeps that pasta from soaking up all the dressing later, which is great.  I hate to pop the top the next day, and see that the pasta has drank all the dressing/sauce/etc.  I do this all the time, assorted recipes.  Works like a charm. 
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