Tag Archives: simple salads

3-Step Simple Summer Salad

Pasta salad has to be among the most adaptable and forgiving side dishes of all time. You can pretty much throw anything into it and when you toss it with a simple vinaigrette, magic happens. Sunday afternoon when The Complete Package grilled chicken breasts for sandwiches, I threw together this simple but flavorful side in under 12 minutes. Here’s how I did it, in three easy steps.

Step 1: The Pasta
4 cups water
a good pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup pearl couscous or orzo pasta

In a saucepan, bring water & salt to a boil. Add the couscous and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, pour into a strainer and run under cold water to chill the pasta. Drain thoroughly and pour it into a bowl.

Step 2: The Add-Ins
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of Italian parsley, minced
2-3 fresh basil leaves, minced
1 scallion, minced
1 small Roma tomato, seeded & chopped
1/4 cup Italian Olive Salad, chopped

While the pasta is cooking, chop up all the add ins and set them aside.

Step 3: The Dressing
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Pour over the pasta and toss to coat. Taste just before serving and tweak the salt & pepper, as needed. Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

Substitutions or Additions:
1. No olive salad? Chop some kalamata & green olives.
2. Feel free to toss in some shaved or grated parmesan.
3. Feeling frisky? Toss in some chopped salami.
4. I hate bell peppers but if you don’t, add some.
5. Red onion, chopped finely, instead of scallions.
6. Grated lemon peel – it makes everything better.
7. If you hate olives AND bell peppers, try cucumber instead.
8. If you add feta cheese instead of parmesan, I’ll kiss you. On the mouth.

Adaptable. Versatile. Delicious. Now it’s your turn. What is your favorite pasta salad? Feel free to shout it out in the comments. If you’re a blogger, attach a link so we can all see it. With temperatures already climbing into the 90’s in Houston, I need all the light but tasty pasta salad suggestions I can get.

Ready… set… salad!



Filed under Food & Recipes

Salad Week: Quite Possibly the Strangest Salad You May Never Eat

I’ll be honest. The reaction I usually get when I talk about this salad is “ewww!” I get it. It’s weird. But oddly enough, it’s really delicious. Especially if you love cauliflower. Now, I’m not going to beat you over the head and tell you how you just HAVE to try this one. But if you’re adventurous, and if you love cauliflower, then at least promise me that you’ll consider giving it a try. I would hope that you would trust me by now. It’s not like I’m asking you to eat a bug, after all.

Raw Cauliflower Salad:
1 medium head of cauliflower
1 small can of chopped black olives
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup mayonnaise
a pinch each of salt & pepper

Remove the leaves and stems from the cauliflower, leaving just the florets. Chop the florets into 1/2″ pieces and toss them into a mixing bowl. Add the olives, scallions, mayonnaise, salt & pepper and stir to combine. Place into an air-tight container with a tight-fitting lid and place in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. This dish is best if eaten within 48 hours since the raw cauliflower will start to discolor and soften over time.

Note: I first tried this recipe almost 30 years ago, when The Complete Package and I were first married. It’s another one of my mother-in-law’s retro classics. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. It’s a fresh, crunchy side for any picnic and pairs perfectly with grilled meats and a bottle of Beano. Yes, Beano; not vino. And I think you all know where I’m going with that. Although, now that I think about it, I’m sure it would also be lovely with a cold, crisp white like a Riesling. Cheers, adventurous salad lovers!

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Speaking of adventurous salad lovers, check out these lovely salads already posted for Salad Week and be sure to tell these ladies I said hello!

Chicken Mole Salad – by Megan at Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Simple Caesar Salad – by Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic
Party Salad – by Kat at Tenaciously Yours
Parmesan Salad Cups – by Lauren at Climbing Grier Mountain
Tabbouleh Salad That Made Me Cry – by Allison at Decadent Philistines

Check in Saturday when all of our Salad Week bloggers post additional salads in a big Salad Week Grand Finale. There will also be a linky party at Allison’s place starting Saturday morning. You’ll not only see all of our salads from the past week, but you’ll also be able to link up your own favorites.


Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes