Quick and Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad 1Do you need a quick and easy side dish to take to an office party or family gathering? I’m almost embarrassed to share this recipe because it’s really so simple  and all the flavor comes from a store bought pesto sauce.  But, hey you had to cook the pasta and cut up everything yourself.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound rainbow rotini pasta (or whatever shape of your choice)
  • 8 ounces cubed Colby Jack or Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 8 ounces grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3.8 ounce can of sliced black olives, drained
  • 3/4-1 cup pesto or Italian dressing of your choice
  • 8 ounces hard salami cubes (this is optional. I didn’t have any on hand but it tastes wonderful in the salad.)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Chill in ice bath and remove once pasta is cool.
  2. While pasta is cooking, cut up cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, and salami if using.
  3. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and stir in pesto. Mix well.
  4. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight for the next day.

Pasta Salad

What’s In My Refrigerator Salad

Salad 9Sometimes, not often mind you, I want to eat a great big salad for dinner. Not your little foo foo salad. I mean something that is so delicious and satisfying that you won’t be hungry 4 hours later type of salad. I like to use whatever fruits, nuts and vegetables I have on hand. And of course, I always have an extra cooked chicken breast in my refrigerator that I can add as well. Feel free to make as much or as little as you like. And also feel free to add or substitute more/less ingredients to suit your tastes. I know this is just salad and not much of a recipe, but sometimes you just need to see how simple everyday items you have on hand can make a delicious meal.

INGREDIENTS:

  • romaine lettuce cut into ribbons
  • grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • red grapes, sliced in half
  • toasted almond slices
  • dried cranberries
  • strawberries, sliced into quarters
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • your favorite salad dressing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut romaine lettuce into ribbons and add to bowl. Salad 1
  2. Add grape tomatoes.Salad 2
  3. Add grapes.Salad 3
  4. Add almond slices for extra crunchiness. Salad 4
  5. Add dried cranberries for extra sweetness.Salad 5
  6. Wait, I found some strawberries. Add those in too.Salad 6
  7. Add some grated Parmesan cheese.Salad 7
  8. Add sliced chicken breast pieces. (I know Sue, you will skip this part.)Salad 8
  9. Mix up your ingredients so you get a little bite of everything. And serve with your favorite salad dressing. (And maybe some extra shredded cheese…)Salad 9