The weather is finally nice here in Kentucky so my husband, mother-in-law and I sat outside one evening and grilled chicken and asparagus for a great relaxing dinner. We even had a small salad made with the greens from our garden. The next day, I needed to find something to take for lunch and my usual as I have written before is refrigerator salad, using everything left over plus some fresh greens and salad dressing plus croutons made from left over bread and stuck in the freezer. This, however, would not work in this case, so I needed a new plan. I decided to try pasta salad.
Now, I must begin by saying that I have never been a pasta salad fan because I don’t like mayonnaise except on a tomato sandwich. But, recently I tried a pasta salad made with veggies and cheese tortellini that had an Italian dressing. So, I thought I’d give it a try. I had a box of healthy pasta shells made by Barilla. The pasta is actually made with carrots and tomatoes and although the color is orange, the pasta is quite good. I removed the skin and bones and cut the chicken and then cut the asparagus in sections and tossed in as well. Searching through my fridge, I also found and added pickled white beets (so my salad was not red), olives, carrots and Italian dressing. I also added fresh basil and chives from the yard and a bit of Parmesan Cheese. It was really quite good and more filling than my usual salad.
I did a Google search to try to learn about the history of pasta salad but only found that Italians traditionally topped lettuce with cold pasta while the Greeks mixed pasta with various veggies, etc. I haven’t figured out how we got to the potluck mayo-based salad from my childhood. I’d love to hear your favorite combination or anything you know about the history of pasta salad. Let me know!
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