Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fill-in-the-gap meal: Pasta Salad

I used to think of pasta salad as strictly Italian. That it had to have tri-color pasta, Italian dressing and the seasoning packet with dried olives that comes in those pasta salad kits at the grocery store. But in an attempt to use up some produce, I started experimenting with pasta salad and decided to push back the barriers. Why set up boundaries for myself when it isn't necessary? By removing the Italian constraints, pasta salad has become a bonafide fill-in-the-gap meal (also known as, I didn't know what to make for dinner and/or I needed to use up this produce that's going bad in the fridge). Here are some pics of the one I made today for lunch.

I had some leftover bell peppers from earlier in the week so I started with those.

I added some corn, fresh basil and tomatoes. 

Added my cooked tri-color rotini pasta and realized I had ham in the fridge so I thew that in, too. I like to use leftover grilled chicken for this as well. 

Mixed it all together with dressing. Threw in the rest of the mozzarella cheese from pizza night.

This is my current dressing of choice. I tend to be heavy handed with the dressing. Bonus - you can buy it at Sam's.

Just like homemade pizza, this is a great filler meal because you can put almost anything in it. Mushrooms, fruit, carrots, zucchini, leftover chicken from the night before - I actually put mine on a bed of lettuce (that's on its last leg) when I ate it for lunch. Just remember - you aren't restricted to Italian flavors. Anyone else have good pasta salad combinations they'd like to share?


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