Build Your Own Pasta

If you’re looking for the perfect weeknight meal that is healthy, takes hardly any time, AND tastes great as leftovers… I’ve found your answer.  This pasta salad tastes delicious with any vegetables you’ve got in your fridge.  I switch it up each time I make this meal!  Another added plus is that each person can create their own pasta bowl.  No two people have to make the same pasta salad if they don’t want to.  Each person can add the ingredients they like and stay away from those they don’t.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta (regular, vegetable, whole wheat, gluten free, etc.)
  • Vegetables
  • Protein (optional)
  • Dressing

That’s all!  This dish is served best cold.  Typically I keep vegetables in the fridge, so they’re cool to begin with.  When I cook the pasta (and sometimes a few vegetables) right before I want to serve them I’ll run them under cold water for 30-60 seconds.  For the remainder of this post I’ll list options of items you can add.  You can make this dish as fancy or as simple as you want; don’t feel like you have to add all of these options to make your dish delicious.

Pasta options:
**Cook all according to directions on box**

  • Farfalle (butterflies)
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Ruote (cartwheels)
  • Rotini (twists)
  • Conchiglie (shells)
  • Ziti (tubes)

Vegetable options:

  • Broccoli (raw, or lightly cook according to directions)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers (quartered)
  • Red onion (diced)
  • Carrots (shredded or sliced)
  • Bell pepper (red, orange, yellow, or green; diced)
  • Spinach (raw or steamed)
  • Others (whatever you like!)

Protein options:

  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Sausage
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

Additional toppings:

  • Black olives
  • Cheese (shredded or cubed; parmesan, mozzarella, italian mix, etc.)

Dressing options:

  • Italian (I love the Olive Garden dressing!  Click here to view)
  • Caesar (Cardini’s Original Caesar is the best!  Click here to view)
  • Greek (Litehouse brand is my favorite.  Click here to view)
  • Balsamic (Litehouse brand is my favorite for this one too!  Click here to view)

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