I’m a sucker for a good pasta salad. But I’m pretty picky when it comes to the best, because frankly, I love the dressing. The pasta and veggies are really only a vehicle for the dressing to get into my mouth. If it weren’t socially frowned upon, I would probably just drink dressing straight from the bottle.
Ok, I may have gotten a little carried away…
We attended a super fun, impromptu picnic with some friends on Memorial Day. I didn’t have anything in the house to bring the hostess or as a meal to share, and I normally make my pasta salad with a red wine vinaigrette base and let it marinate for several hours (or overnight when possible). I quickly glanced in the pantry and refrigerator and decided I would wing it with a new pasta salad. This time I used whole wheat shells, asparagus, kale, and garbanzo beans, topped with a sprinkling of feta. It was delish! I was pleasantly surprised. For the zip, I used Garlic Expressions dressing. I probably should have used more as it wasn’t as drenched as I would have preferred, but when you’re making a new dish for a crowd, it’s better to go bland than too zippy. Don’t want to offend anyone with my dressing guzzling habits!
So here’s the basic recipe. Feel free to adjust as your tastes prefer, add something, remove something. Get creative! Or follow the recipe and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Maybe you could even try it out for your 4th of July picnic!
Rachel’s Picnic Pasta Salad
- 1/2 box of whole wheat shells
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 5 extra large leaves of green kale, torn
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 10-15 pitted black olives, halved
- 2-3 tbsp Garlic Expressions dressing
- feta cheese crumbles to taste
Make the shells per instructions on box. After cooking, drain and rinse with cold water. Leave in colander to continue draining.
Blanch the kale in salted boiling water, 2-3 minutes. Remove and submerge in an ice bath. Dry the leaves on a cutting board with paper towels.
Cut the asparagus into 1/2″ pieces, using only the top half of each stalk. Parboil the the asparagus. Remove with a slotted spoon and pat dry.
Combine all of the above ingredients into a large bowl. Sprinkle in the feta cheese crumbles. Add 2-3 tbsp of Garlic Expressions dressing (or your favorite oil-based dressing). Toss gently until all ingredients are coated.
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Add more dressing as needed. Enjoy!
What’s your go-to dish for picnics or cook-outs?
Truth: are you a dressing guzzler, too? 😉
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