Tuesday, May 4, 2010

17/365 Favorite dinner ingredients

These are the ingredients for one of my favorite dinners. I make it year-round, but it's absolutely ten times better in the spring and summer when fresh vegetables are abundant.

And thankfully, that time is here!

What is it? Pasta salad. It's cool, refreshing, and a great one-bowl meal. It requires no recipe, because you can change it up depending on what you have on hand.

This time, I made it using zucchini, mini sweet peppers, baby carrots, broccoli, blanched asparagus, and black olives, with whole grain penne pasta and finely shredded Parmesan cheese. It's fantastic.

Have some grilled chicken on hand? Fantastic, throw it in. Beans? Go for it. Tomatoes? An absolute must when they're in season. I prefer this with oil- and vinegar-based Italian dressing, but you can use whatever dressing is your favorite.

Here's my method:

Fresh veggie pasta salad

Ingredients (for a single serving):

  • About 1.5 cups of your favorite fresh vegetables, chopped into bite-size pieces as necessary (tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, peppers, peas, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, you get the idea)
  • Grilled or broiled chicken if you're an omnivore
  • Black olives (if you like them)
  • 1 cup cooked pasta
  • Salad dressing of your choice
  • Shredded cheese of your choice

Chop the veggies, and throw them into a large bowl.
Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and run under cool water to stop it cooking and get its temperature closer to your veggies. Add the pasta to the bowl.
Drizzle with your favorite salad dressing, and toss to coat everything evenly.
Transfer to your plate (or as I do, eat it straight out of the mixing bowl!)
Shred the cheese on top, and enjoy!

If you want to have asparagus in yours, it's not a veggie you can generally eat raw. So I chopped mine and added it to the cooking pasta during the last two minutes. Then strain it and run it under cool water with the pasta. You're blanching it without the extra effort!

Camera: Canon 40D with 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 640

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