Alright, by now we all know that I love to save money. I don’t like to waste, and I attempt to be healthy by not eating too much processed foods, or eat out where they have control over my food.
This pasta salad is one of those meals that I whip up, very often, in order to use up produce and cheese, that have been in my refrigerator for the week.
I am on a stupid diet right now so I am using ingredients that are heart healthy, like whole grains and olive oil. You can use anything you want in your pasta salad. That is the beauty of this pasta salad. I have literally made it without any vegetables, without any cheese, or without any extras like olives and such.
The point is to use what you have and make a delicious dressing to go on it. That’s the secret to a good pasta salad, every time. Not the ingredients, although certain ingredients are perfect in pasta salad, but the overall taste of the salad, aka… the dressing.
Here are some pictures of the ingredients I used.
As you can see I cooked a 1/2 pound of whole grain pasta, just a little because I can only have a couple cups a day, and whatever vegetables were left from the week. Use more noodles if that’s what you have most of. This pasta salad gets eaten very quickly so this a great way to use up those peppers that are starting to show signs of over-ripening. Also, those tomatoes, I didn’t have many. I cut them in half. The rest of my ingredients came from a can, olives and pickled garlic. I had small blocks of cheese, several kinds, so I cut them small to incorporate all through my salad.
So, for that dressing I bragged about.
You will need:
1 cup of olive oil (I used extra virgin for the health properties)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of oregano and 1 tablespoon of tyhme
I would normally use some garlic salt as well but I put pickled garlic in my salad and omitted it this time.
Salt and pepper to taste
You want a lot of dressing. You want the dressing to sit at the bottom of the bowl when it first goes in. So, if you are making a bigger salad than me, be sure to really make lots of dressing. The noodles soak it up as it sits in the fridge.
Whisk together all the ingredients. Dump them on your pasta salad and mix well.
Let your salad sit in the fridge for an hour, covered, then take it out to taste it. I really encourage this part. The salad tastes so different after it sets. The herbs and spices have more time to soften and marinate together. Also, after it sits, the noodles soak up that dressing and you want to make sure you don’t need to add more. If you let it sit too long without enough dressing, the flavors do not get into the noodles properly.
Whatever doesn’t get eaten on the weekend, gets used for lunches on Mondays. I like to save sour cream containers for the kids, school lunches. I save them, then pack up this salad in their throw away containers, and put them in the fridge. They can grab them and go on Monday mornings.