The one thing most people can agree on is salads. The fact is a salad encompasses much more than just lettuce. By definition, a salad is a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients.
Salads fall into the following principal categories:
- Green salads
- Vegetable salads
- Salads of pasta, legumes, or grains
- Mixed salads incorporating meat, poultry, or seafood
- Fruit salads
Salads are versatile and easy to prepare. Instead of picking up a pre-made salad for a light weeknight dinner, this recipe takes less than thirty minutes to make and some of the ingredients are pantry staples you already have on hand.
This pasta salad takes advantage of summer’s bounty of tomatoes, paired with black olives, fresh basil, and mozzarella. Moreover, it’s adaptable for low-carb lifestyles, vegans, vegetarians, and those with gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease. You can even add more veggies like broccoli and red bell peppers, or whatever other vegetables you like.
We have included a recipe for a homemade dressing that takes no time to make and can be kept in an airtight container in the pantry.
Caprese Style Pasta Salad
1 box of tri-color penne or rotini style pasta prepared according to directions, rinsed then cooled. (gluten-free tricolor or regular penne or rotini pasta)
1 bottle of Italian dressing or homemade 4 Seasons Style Italian dressing
1 can of medium black olives, drained and sliced
1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in halves
1 package of whole milk or part-skim mozzarella, diced into medium size cubes (vegan mozzarella)
Extra virgin olive oil
A bunch of fresh basil
Add the cooked pasta, black olives, and tomatoes to a large bowl, then toss them together. Add the mozzarella, then drizzle enough olive oil to coat over the mixture, then lightly toss together while adding the Italian dressing. How much you use is up to you.
Roll the basil leaves together and cut them chiffonade style. Add to the pasta salad and toss with two spoons to get the bail distributed throughout the salad. You can serve the salad immediately or if you have time, cover and let it chill in the fridge. This pasta salad gets better with time.
Savory Saver recipe for Copycat Good Seasons Garlic and Herb Dressing
2 Tbsps Garlic Powder ·
1 Tbsp Sugar ·
2 tsp Salt ·
2 tsp Dried Parsley ·
1 tablespoon Dried Basil ·
1 ½ tsp Onion Powder ·
½ tsp Dried Mustard …
½ tsp Black Pepper
¼ tsp Dried Oregano
¼ tsp Dried Thyme
¼ tsp Celery Seed
Ingredients for Making Dressing
2 Tbs Dressing Mix
2 Tbs Water
¼ Cup White Vinegar
⅔ Cup Neutral Oil (Canola, Vegetable, Safflower, Grapeseed or Peanut)
Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl.
Store in an airtight container.
To Make Dressing
Put 2 Tablespoons of the dressing mix in a Salad Dressing Shaker or Small Mason Jar.
Add 2 tablespoons of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar to the shaker.
Close Shaker and shake up well to mix and dissolve the ingredients.
Add oil to the mix and shake again until fully combined.
To Make the Carb-free version of this salad, spiralized 1 large or 2 small zucchini. In a lightly salted boiling water pot, add the zucchini noodles, and cook for 1-3 minutes. Remove from the pot, drain in a colander, and run cold water over the noodles. Set them aside and let them cool before proceeding with the recipe.
For a Vegan version of the pasta salad, you can use a vegan mozzarella. Miyoko’s Creamery makes a vegan mozzarella, there are also Great Value, Earth Grown, and Violife versions of vegan mozzarella, that are available commercially either in stores or ordered online.