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Pasta Salad Puzzle

May 3, 2012

Is it hot where you live yet? Because it’s already hitting the high 80s here in Maryland.

And I LOVE it.

What I don’t love is turning on the oven and making my apartment feel like a sauna. And as much as I love smoothies, I’d rather not eat them for dinner every single night (well, at least not until things get REALLY hot around here. Smoothies basically take over my diet come August).

Enter the pasta salad:

You’ll need a little bit of heat to cook this dish, but then you can pop it in the fridge and have a cool, ready-to-eat meal for the rest of the week. That’s a compromise you can get on board with, right?

Right.

Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 box whole wheat pasta
  • 40-50 small, frozen, pre-cooked shrimp
  • veggies of choice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dressing ingredients (according to this recipe)
  • feta cheese

Directions:

  • Cook pasta according to box.
  • Defrost shrimp: place in a colander and run under cold water until no longer frozen (about 5 minutes).
  • While pasta cooks, saute garlic in olive oil. Add veggies and cook until spinach is wilted and zucchini and beans are tender.
  • Mix dressing ingredients and set aside.
  • Drain pasta, and toss pasta, veggies, and shrimp in a large bowl with dressing. Top with feta, season with salt and pepper.
  • Place bowl in fridge until fully cooled, about an hour.

This dish is refreshing, delicious, filling, and super healthy—but it’s also customizable. I love that you can switch out ingredients depending on your tastes, cravings, or preferences and never get bored! Just follow a simple combination:

Pasta: I try to stick to whole wheat, but any short pasta will do: farfalle, elbows, rotini, ziti.

Veggies: asparagus, spinach, green beans, zucchini/squash, grape tomatoes, peas, eggplant, whatever! I bet some fruits would be great, too (orange segments, grapes, berries).

Dressing: I love this Neely dressing recipe, but balsamic would be delicious. My mom used to dress hers with Italian dressing.

Protein: chicken, shrimp, sausage, tuna, beans.

Cheese: feta, mozzarella, goat cheese, whatever you like!

Extras: dried fruits, nuts, seeds, olives.

Anybody have a great pasta salad recipe I need to try? I have a feeling I’m going to see a lot of these in my future!

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2012 9:29 am

    This looks awesome! I feel you on the hot apartment – I’m in Silver Spring, and my apartment, for some stupid reason, has yet to turn the AC on. It’s 79° in here right now.

  2. May 6, 2012 2:01 pm

    I love pasta salads! this looks great!

  3. May 7, 2012 7:24 am

    I cannot wait to try this recipe!! I’m always looking for a new pasta salad recipe to whip together! 🙂

  4. May 8, 2012 2:42 pm

    I haven’t had pasta salad in quite some time. Yours looks pretty great though! When I do have pasta salad I am all about adding in some type of protein.

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