Sunday, May 5, 2013

May Secret Recipe Club...Featuring Perfect Pasta Salad From Barbara Bakes

It's time for another fun Secret Recipe Club reveal...and the blog I was assigned this month is amazing. Barbara Bakes is full of amazing baked goods...if only it wasn't Healthy Eating Month here at The Weekend Gourmet, I would've tackled one of her amazing desserts. Thankfully, she also features savory dishes...and I found a recipe that works perfectly. I was going to a family potluck this weekend, so I was thrilled when I found her recipe for Perfect Pasta Salad. I admit that I love pasta salad, but it can be bland. Thanks to the technique that Barbara featured, my version of Perfect Pasta Salad lived up to its name!

This is more of a technique than a recipe per's totally adaptable for your tastes of dietary guidelines. It makes a huge batch, and it got rave reviews from everyone who tasted it at the party. If that's not a great endorsement, I don't know what is! With Summer parties and picnics coming up, everyone should have this knowledge in their repertoire. 
This recipe allows you to use whatever odds and ends you might have in your kitchen. If you want, you can even make it veg-friendly by using egg or tofu for your protein. Tasty and versatile is always a winning combo in my book!

Perfect Pasta Salad
adapted from Barbara Bakes 

Step 1 Pasta: I used a box of healthy high-fiber pasta with added Omega 3. I cooked it in a gallon of well-salted water. That's the key to really flavorful pasta...and ensures your pasta salad won't be bland.
Step 2 Key ingredients: She recommends using about 4 cups of at least three major ingredients. I used equal amounts of corn kernels, diced carrot, diced Roma tomato, and 2% cheddar and monterey jack cheese crumbles. 
Step 3 Intense flavors: Add 1/2 cup of a strong flavored ingredient. I had some spicy turkey pepperoni in my fridge and cut it in fourths. It gave the salad a spicy kick, and the turkey pepperoni is much lower in fat.
Step 4 Onions & herbs: Add three large sliced green onions or half of a small red onion, diced.  You should also add in 3 tbs. fresh herbs, lemon zest, or orange zest. I opted for organic green onions and chiffonade of basil. I thought it would pair nicely with the spicy turkey pepperoni.
Step 5 Dressing: Add 1 cup dressing and toss to evenly combine with the pasta and add-ins. You can prepare the salad in advance, but the dressing should be added only 15 minutes before serving. I used Newman's Own Light Italian for this pasta's my favorite bottled salad dressing, and it paired perfectly with the ingredients in my pasta salad.This pasta salad was indeed perfect! It wasn't mushy, and the ratio of pasta to add ins was just what I like. All of the flavors combined nicely together, and it was guilt-free thanks to the healthy ingredients that I used. With this basic 5-step technique in my back pocket, I'm ready for the upcoming Summer party/picnic season!! 
I hope you'll check out all of the fun Secret Recipe Club recipes that are being shared today. I always find great new blogs to read and recipes to pin, and I hope you do as well!!

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