Sweet Veggie Pasta Salad
That is what those things are called, right? The deep fryers that people give out as wedding gifts and that to my knowledge, nobody actually purchases to use in their kitchen? Raise your hand if there is one taking up space in the back of your pantry, top cupboard, or storage closet!
I do not have my hand raised. My husband and I were one of the lucky couples who had friends and family that exercised restraint and only gave practical wedding gifts. Of course it may have been the fact that Michel’s address at the time was the USS Topeka (not much room for storage in a submarine and they really frown upon keeping things like blenders and toasters in your rack) and my address was the same as 3 other girls just off the UW-STOUT campus. And may I just say, praise God for having best friends/roommates who were neat and organized! Recognizing our unique circumstances our guests were absolutely lovely and we got everything we needed; nothing more. Well, that is if you don’t count the neon blue sign in the shape of a moon that I got from my brother. With his trademark crooked grin he claimed it was for mood lighting. What a romantic…
Anyway, after watching a home improvement show that included cleaning out the kitchen cupboards (yes, they had a Fry Daddy) I thought to myself, “Why are they still holding on to that?” It had been a wedding present and they had kept it for decades, never using it once. If this sounds familiar, I am here to set you free. Two little words that will make your life sooo much easier.
Good Will. Yes my friends, it is time to embrace spring! And as long as your are cleaning the fridge and wiping down the baseboards, I implore you to empty your kitchen cupboards too. Thinking of all the unused items and wasted space in your kitchen makes me a little claustrophobic. It is OK for you to donate something that you will never use! Really! I promise! Don’t bother keeping seven of the same spatula or that really nice Precious Moments serving bowl from Aunt Mildred. Its time. Listen to Michael Jordan and Just Do It!
And by the way…
As long as you are digging around in your pantry, pull out the ingredients to make the dressing for this pasta salad! While there are bazillions of pasta salad recipes out there, no one wants to go to a pot luck dinner or summer BBQ and eat a salad filled with strange ingredients leaving people to wonder, “What the heck is in this??” This has familiar ingredients that appeal to everyone, has beautiful color, and an unexpected twist that can be refreshing next to an endless sea of potato salads and hot dogs. And although I love my Margarita Pasta Salad, sometimes you need to do something a little different. Yes, I admit, it looks a little bit boring. Didn’t your Mother ever tell you that you should never judge things by their appearance?! But don’t worry. The dressing is the redeeming feature; surprisingly sweet and only a little tangy. It makes for an addictive side dish that pairs wonderfully with just about anything you can think of. And best of all, no dairy! Meaning it can be served chilled or at room temperature.
I even photographed it in a Tupperware container, just to show you how great it travels. Well, OK…more because that is how I stored it in my fridge and less for travel, but you get the point. Sweet Veggie Pasta Salad
Adapted from Ashley Dennis
Feel free to use any bite-sized pasta for this recipe. I had the spiral stuff, so that is what I used. And I was out of grape tomatoes, but I usually add them too.
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c canola oil, olive oil, or a mix of the two
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/3 c red wine vinegar or other sweet vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb bite sized pasta (rotini, medium shells, macaroni, penne, penne rigate, rigatoni, etc) cooked according to package directions
broccoli, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
cauliflower, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
purple onion, diced (optional)
Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk together. Pour over pasta and veggies. Toss well.