Monday, June 11, 2012

Simple and Delicious Family Cooking: Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad

So the other day I needed something to pack up for a picnic dinner at the pool. Swimming makes kids HUNGRY, so it had to be hearty, but I also wanted something summery and fresh. What's the perfect picnic entree? A pasta salad, of course. Here's what I threw together. It was, well--perfect.

Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad
serves about 6

Half to 2/3 of a 1-lb. bag of enriched egg noodles (or any pasta you like) -- I'm not precise on this measure; use what seems right to you.
2 large scallions, snipped
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1/2 large or 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced into quarter-moons
1-1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Large handful (or as much as you like) turkey pepperoni, sliced into quarter-moons
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 to 1/3 cup grapeseed or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)

Cook pasta according to package directions, leaving al dente. Drain and rinse well with cold water to stop cooking and cool the noodles. Drain well again, then place in large serving bowl. Add all vegetables, chickpeas, and pepperoni, toss well.

Combine dressing ingredients in jar or large glass measuring cup; whisk with fork or shake jar to combine well. Pour over salad; toss until ingredients are well-coated. Top with Parmesan. Chill in refrigerator before serving, if possible--or pack up in a cooler with some good bread and fresh fruit for a picnic lunch or supper.

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