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I’m posting a basic recipe since it’s so easy to modify.  Add some mayonnaise, peas, and bacon, you have a creamy pasta salad. Egg crumbles, spinach, sliced red onion, and bacon and you’ve got a spinach pasta salad.  Add green onion, brown sugar, and ginger to the basic recipe and you have an Asian style salad. Add peanut butter, and red bell pepper to the Asian style and you have Thai. The list goes on.  Experiment for yourself, or just leave it basic. Perfect for a potluck or on a hot summer day.

This recipe serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
  • t tbsp of spicy brown or dijon mustard
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • 1/2 lemon, for juice
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of canola or olive oil or blend of the two
  • 1 cup of broccoli, cut small and steamed for about two minutes
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 6-8 oz of rotelle, bow-tie, or mini penne pasta

Optional add ins:

  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup garbonzo and/or kidney beans
  • 1 small can of sliced olives
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, asiago or romano cheese

Start by getting your pasta ready.  Boil according to the manufacturer’s direction for al dente pasta.

While your pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl whisk the water, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, garlic salt, onion powder, and red pepper flake.

Whisk in the mustard,

then stir in the carrot.

After stirring in your carrot, VIOLA! You have mustard-carrot vinegrette! You can store it and use it on a lettuce salad if you’d like. OR…

Stir in your broccoli, onion, and any other add-ins.  Then set aside.

When the pasta is finished cooking, rinse thoroughly under cold water to stop it from cooking further.  Drain,and add to the veggie-vinegrette mix. Stir, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Stir once again before serving.

Asian style salad: Add additional 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1-1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger, 3 sliced green onions and substitute salt for 1 tsp soy sauce.  Mix into the vinegrette before adding the pasta

Thai: Whisk 1/4 cup of peanut butter into the asian style vinegrette, and 1/2 or a red bell pepper diced

Southwestern style: Add 1 packet of  taco seasoning to the vinegrette, omit broccoli, add corn and olives.  Top with cheese.

Greek: Whisk 2 tsp oregano into vinegrette. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped peppercini, 1/2 chopped cucumber, a handful of kalamata olives, 1 cup of chopped salami, and 1/2  cup of crumbled feta cheese.

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