For lunch today, I had a real treat: a creamy pasta salad and perfectly ripened chunks of cantaloupe. I had prepared both the night before.
I thought about lunch all morning and how easy it would be to just dish it out and enjoy it when I got home. And I did enjoy it. In fact, I didn't know when to stop eating! (I know; that's bad.)
One good thing about this recipe, those of us who eat pasta salad at my house all loved it.
There's nothing ground breaking about this salad, no complicated ingredients, no tricky preparation. Just a straight-forward, easy side dish that's a little different from other pasta salad recipes I make.
I really enjoy pasta salads made with fat-free Italian dressing, but I've been craving a creamy pasta salad since watching one being made on a Food Network show a few days ago. The recipe wasn't given, although the diner cook did mention the ingredients while she was making the salad. I hopped up from my seat, grabbed some paper and a pen and jotted down the ingredients as she tossed them in her bowl.
I used that and a few other recipes as a starting point.
The dressing for this salad is reduced-fat sour cream and reduced-fat mayonnaise mixed with honey dijon mustard. I seasoned the dressing with some salt and pepper. The diner cook added onion powder and garlic salt, but I had neither. I used about a half cup of cubed cheddar cheese and about a cup and a half of mixed veggies including diced celery, shredded carrots and red, orange and green bell peppers. To save money, I bought the peppers and carrots from the salad bar at my favorite grocery store. That way I got three varieties of peppers without having to buy three whole peppers, which would have been too many for this salad.
You could use a number of pastas for this salad including elbows and seashells, but I used cellentani or cavatappi, a long, wavy tubular pasta known as double elbows that I've always enjoyed cooking with.
As the hot days of summer progress, I'm sure I'll be making more and pasta salads to eat at lunch. It's so nice to have a cool meal on a hot day.
If you have a favorite pasta salad recipe you'd like to share with our readers, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creamy Pasta Salad
- 1 pound cellentani or other pasta, cooked and drained
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup vegetables, including shredded carrots, diced multi-colored bell peppers and celery
- 8 oz. reduced fat sour cream
- 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon honey Dijon mustard (any mustard would work)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Stir into pasta, along with vegetables and cheese.
Cool before serving.