kid-friendly pasta salad
You guys, I just discovered I haven’t posted a recipe here since 2010. You know why? Not because I don’t cook every single freaking day. Because, ugh, I really do. No, it’s because I mostly cook really boring things, like brown rice. And soup. Soup and rice don’t photograph particularly well!
When I do make something that’s actually pretty I always forget to photograph the ingredients, the process, and sometimes even the finished product. We eat it and then I think, “crap, I should have taken a picture!” I would make a terrible food blogger.
Anyway! We all know that since school has started again we all have potlucks looming. I made a pasta salad this weekend that is perfect for a potluck or picnic because it doesn’t have mayonnaise in it. My kid doesn’t like mayo! It’s like I don’t even know who he is. Of course, I’m not really eating mayo these days either – I love it, but it doesn’t particularly like me. So! This is my new go to salad.
I’ve made this a lot recently, and it’s just perfect; easy, light, and kid-friendly.
- 1 box of your favorite pasta cooked al dente and chilled – I like rotini or bowties for this – and I use either tri-color or Ronzoni Smart Taste or Barilla Plus. If you want to use good ole white pasta or whole wheat either will work fine.
- 1 can of medium Rotel diced tomatoes (drained) if you like a little heat, OR 1 cup fresh or regular canned diced tomatoes if you don’t.
- 1-2 cups fresh baby spinach, washed, and broken up into smallish pieces.
- 1 tablespoon-ish white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons-ish olive oil
- your favorite seasonings – I like Cavender’s but you could use Mrs. Dash or whatever. I also add extra onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper to mine.
- Parmesan to taste. Fresh or in the green can, I won’t judge. Parmesan is already salty so I don’t add any additional salt when I season it.
Mix it all up and finish seasoning to taste. You might need a little more olive oil or vinegar. I don’t measure mine so I guessed at the amount!
We love this salad exactly like this but you can use the recipe as just a base for the raw veggies your family likes – onions, chives, olives, shredded carrots, diced cucumber, celery (gag) or whatever.
If you want to make it a complete one dish meal add in some cold diced chicken and hard boiled eggs. I’ve also made a similar one using cold pesto as the dressing instead of the olive oil vinegar and seasonings. So good!
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