Today in Western New York, it's decided to be summer again. 90 degrees and humid, which means no one will have much of an appetite, and when they do get hungry, they won't want anything hot. This calls for a pasta salad.
There are so many different recipes for pasta salad, most of which contain mayonnaise. I'm not a big fan of mayo, so I prefer a salad that is marinated in a nice vinaigrette. My current favorite is Brianna's French Vinaigrette. Good stuff, no nasties! (Local friends, you can find it at Wegmans.)
Over the years I have changed up my salad recipe to make it a bit more wholesome, so I can say from experience that this salad tastes good with the cheaper ingredients and the more expensive healthy ingredients. Do whatever works for your pocketbook! When I'm cooking for a large crowd, I tone down the price without sacrificing good taste.
Leni's Notes:~Nice side dish for grilled meats.
~Holds up well for parties and picnics.
~When you are done mixing, let it sit for a couple of hours in the fridge and then test it again to see if it needs more dressing.
~This makes a nice light lunch, also.
2 lbs whole wheat pasta of choice (Rotini for us this time)
1 large head of fresh broccoli, cut into small spears
1 lb block cheese, cut into cubes (Colby-Jack is our favorite)
1 quart grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 (6 oz) package turkey pepperoni, sliced into quarters
1 bottle vinaigrette dressing
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
Optional: Sliced black olives, chopped raw bell pepper, shredded raw onion
~Boil pasta according to directions. During the last minute of cooking, throw the broccoli in. Drain and rinse, and set aside to dry out a bit.
~When pasta is well drained, add in everything except dressing and parmesan.
~Mix well, and add about half the bottle of dressing, making sure to coat all of the pasta well. The dressing amount will vary according to taste, but it's better to go light at first.
~Add parmesan, cover and refrigerate.
~Before serving, taste to gauge the need for more dressing.