Cold pasta salad is a great summer dish to bring to a picnic or barbecue. You can make a giant bowl of it and add any summer vegetables you like. Basically it is cooked pasta with fresh crunchy vegetables tossed with a little mozzarella cheese and a dressing, so it is simple to make. I prefer a light dressing that is not too creamy and rich. Pasta salad can be eaten on it’s own alongside other dishes, or as a healthy meal itself on a big bed of greens.
(any summer vegetables may be substituted)
1 box of pasta cooked (I used shells, but any small shape works)
2 -4 carrots (sliced)
1 red onion (chopped)
a handful of asparagus spears (blanched and cut into 1″ pieces)
1 – 2 cups of snow peas or green beans (blanched and cut into 1″ pieces)
1 – 2 cups of cherry tomatoes (cut into fourths)
1 red pepper (cut into bite size pieces)
1 cup of mozzarella (cut in to bite size pieces)
For the dressing:
1 cup of fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley & mint)
1/3 cup of olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 TB. of mayonnaise
salt & pepper to taste
* Put all of the ingredients above in a food processor and blend until finely minced.
Cook the pasta according to the directions, then drain and place in a large bowl. Toss with a little olive oil and refrigerate.
Blanch the asparagus and green beans by boiling them for 2 – 3 minutes and then putting them in an ice bath to retain their color and crispness. Chop the rest of the vegetables into bite size pieces. Place the chopped vegetables and cheese in the bowl with the cooked pasta and gently toss together with the dressing.
Add a squeeze of lemon and a little more salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with some of the fresh herbs.
Serve with a large spoon from the bowl, or pass the greens ands serve each plate over a bed of lettuce.