Dreaming of Summer – Vegetarian Pasta Salad

With the snow covering the garden and seed catalogs pouring out of my mailbox each day, I needed a bright salad for A bowl of bright pasta saladlunch that would remind me of summer.

Pasta salad is a hearty dish full of fiber and lots of veggies so it is great to serve a large crowd and can be made with almost anything you have in your pantry (or garden in the summer). I love adding as many colors as I can to this salad! The three great things about pasta salad is that it feeds a crowd, can be made ahead and then sit for a few days in the refrigerator, and is a packable food that doesn’t mind being tossed around. So, making this is something I do a lot because the left overs are perfect to take to work for lunch and making the pasta salad is super easy.

Now, in the summer, all of the ingredients, minus the pasta and dressing, come from my garden. As I decided to make this on a spur-of-the-moment idea so that I had lunch to bring to a friend tomorrow, I wound up using canned items. Feel free to experiment and use what you like. You can add anything you like from pepperoni to anchovies. This recipe used vegetarian ingredients as I wasn’t sure the person I was joining for lunch was a meat eater or not.

1 12oz. box of pasta (I like to use the whole wheat veggie pasta from Barilla)

1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained well

1 can of sliced black olives, drained

1 can of whole kernel corn, drained

1 can of artichoke hearts in water, drained

1/2 cup of mayonnaise

2 tablespoons of mustard

1/2 cup of your favorite vinaigrette or dressing – I love a little Asian flavor so I used Kraft’s Light Asian Toasted Sesame reduced fat dressing

Cook your pasta according to the package directions leaving it a little al dente so it can hold up to all the ingredients in the salad.

cooked pasta

In a large bowl, mix together your mayonnaise, mustard and dressing or vinaigrette.

Dressing ingredients

Dressing mixed

Add all of your veggies and mix well. I like to add a dash of freshly ground black pepper to give the salad some zip. If you get the artichoke hearts that are whole, cut them into quarters for bite size pieces.

Veggies for pasta salad

Mixing the veggies and dressing

Add your cooked pasta and mix.

Adding the pasta to the salad

You can serve the pasta salad right away but I think the flavors come out more if you let it sit covered in the refrigerator for a few hours first.

Homemade Pasta Salad

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