Pasta Salad often conjures up ideas of mayo-covered mysteries at a potluck. Now, don’t get me wrong, I grew up with a midwestern mother and as such, have a deep affection for mayo. However, I do take issue when mayo is used to cover up food or is the only source of flavor in a dish (the latter often being the very downfall of most pasta salads). So today, I’m bringing you a pasta salad that is more SALAD than anything else – just a flavorful, filling salad that happens to have pasta incorporated.
This recipe was inspired by a Real Simple magazine I read during my dark years… That is the years I spent obsessed with a 24/7 high-stress job. During that period I was often chained to my desk by the various crises that inevitably arose, and lunch, dinner, and sometimes even breakfast was coming out of a vending machine or to go bag. Let me tell you, not the best diet for your waistline (or mood). I’m not one for sandwiches, so packed lunches were something of a strain, especially since I hadn’t figured out yet how much I could love cooking (you can read more about that revelation on my Why I Cook page). Then I stumbled across a “grown-up” brown-bag lunch recipe at Real Simple. It’s light, tasty, portable, and best of all, it can be made one serving at a time.
In the version I’m sharing with you below, I’ve amped up the flavor a few notches, as I find it more filling and satisfying, but either my version or Real Simple’s can be a fantastic side or lunch. You can even make it up the day before, but put the vinaigrette on right before serving, so your greens don’t wilt.