Improv Pasta Salad

Sunday, November 27th, 2011 by Rachel

In order to avoid a second Thanksgiving leftover meal today, I quickly came up with this recipe. It used up some odds and ends in the fridge and pantry, and it was a healthy side to go with our Morningstar Farms Riblets. I normally stir pasta salad in a large bowl, but this saved us the washing of a dish! The egg noodles were a much different noodle than the cellentani I love, but it was a nice change of pace because of the texture and because they collected the olive oil well.


Improv Pasta Salad


The end of a bag of extra wide egg noodles
End of a bag of frozen lima beans
About a cup or so of frozen field peas with snaps
1 can organic garbanzo beans / chickpeas, drained and washed
End of a cube of mozzarella cheese (probably ¼), sliced into tiny cubes
Olive oil


Boil noodles. Boil lima beans and field peas (in separate pots, since they have different cooking times). Drain all three when they are al dente. Put noodles, lima beans, field peas, beans, and cheese in large tupperware. Drizzle with olive oil. Put lid on tupperware. Shake it!!! Shake it!!! Take lid off. Pasta salad is done! Sprinkle with a little kosher salt for extra flavor.

Rachel’s Three Bean Pasta Salad Recipe

Friday, July 8th, 2011 by Rachel

I came up with this recipe because tonight we are having a dinner guest who doesn’t like tomatoes. I wanted to make a pasta salad, but I knew omitting one of my favorite ingredients would force me get creative. My mother-in-law made a delicious salad last weekend with chickpeas, so I decided to that beans would be the base of the pasta salad. Because the olive oil, rotini & cheese were already in my pantry/fridge, this also made for a inexpensive pasta salad at under 7 dollars. It would’ve been cheaper if I hadn’t bought the pre-sliced veggies, but I thought the extra dollar saved me chopping time. I had a small bowl (warm) after making the pasta salad, and it was definitely a success. The onions give it crunch and kick! Enjoy! Let me know if you try it!


Rachel’s Three Bean Pasta Salad


½ box of rotini noodles (leftover from our last pasta salad)
1 can cannellini beans (All beans are Bush’s)
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas
½ container Walmart pre-sliced green onion
½ container Walmart pre-sliced red onion (leftover veggies are destined for a weekend frittata)
½ block mozzarella cheese, cubed (leftover from our last pasta salad)
Splash of olive oil


Boil noodles. While noodles are boiling, chop up veggies (if needed) and cube the cheese (Derrick likes small chunks, and I like big, crazy chunks—cube to your personal preference. Tonight I went with small, bean-sized cubes). Drain noodles, and put them in a big bowl. Drain the beans. Add beans, veggies, and cheese to big bowl. Mix carefully as you add each ingredient, since pasta salads want to explode when stirred. Drizzle top of bowl with olive oil. Refrigerate 3 hours. Serve.


My Pasta Salad Philosophy

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 by Rachel

The first pasta salad I ever made was a disaster. I took the recipe from a friend after eating his dish at a potluck. I don’t remember what it included, I think chicken and perhaps pepperoni. I had friends and sister around as my guinea pig food tasters. It was disgusting. Nobody finished their dish. Of course, that was 6 or 7 years ago, and I’ve become a much more sophisticated cook (also better at obeying directions!) Though I don’t make pasta salads weekly, I really appreciate them for their endless healthy possibilities. Pasta salads also have such a nice social quality to them. I almost always make a pasta salad for parties as a vegetarian option or side dish. The picture here is of a pasta salad that I made for my birthday party last year. Nobody turns their nose up at pasta salad!


After visiting my mom this weekend, she sent us home with squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I instantly knew that I’d be making a pasta salad. I picked up some pre-cooked/pre-diced Tyson bagged chicken (a coupon buy), a block of mozzarella, and some rotini noodles. I always like rotini, farfalle (bowtie) or cellentani (curly cue) for pasta salads, because I think their shapes are cute and appropriate for the dish (i.e. holds the sauce/dressing best). For this particular pasta salad, I tried to slice up everything (except for the pasta) so it was dime-sized. I put all the ingredients in a big bowl, then I mixed them up with a big spoon. I sliced the cheese and veggies while the pasta was boiling, so the total meal prep time was around 30 minutes.


So you can recreate the recipe if you choose, here are the proportions: 1 bag of the pre-cooked/pre-diced Tyson bagged chicken, ½ block of mozzarella, ½ box of rotini noodles, 3 medium-sized yellow squashes, 2 cucumbers, 2 tomatoes, a splash of olive oil.


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