Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth of July with Two Summer Salads

It's that time of summer when we find ourselves outside with friends and family celebrating being together. I'm sharing two recipes for pasta salads that are sure to please the crowd. I love that I can make them in the morning, let them sit in the fridge to blend the flavors, and then grab and go to whatever potluck event is waiting. These salads are two of my favorites.

Broccoli Pasta Salad

8 oz of pasta spirals, cooked al dente, rinsed with cold water to cool quickly, and drained
a handful or two of broccoli florets, blanched for 3 min, rinsed with cold water to cool, and drained
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
6 strips of cooked bacon, cut in pieces ( I put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 min)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, or grated Italian blend
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Dressing:
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
salt/pepper to taste

Combine the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Prepare the dressing by combining ingredients in separate bowl, then mix lightly into the salad to coat. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour to blend flavors and cool. Serve.


Creamy Avocado Fiesta Salad

I got the idea for this salad from Natasha's Kitchen website, where I found Creamy Avocado Salad, The dressing really intrigued me, because it was made with avocados and spinach, and I have lots of spinach coming out of my garden right now. Because Natasha's recipe calls for corn and avocado, I decided to combine this recipe with another family favorite -- corn salsa salad, which they love to eat with tortilla chips or as a side dish to anything BBQ'd. I ended up cutting Natasha's dressing in half, and I still had about a 1/2 cup left over to use as a dip for crackers and chips. I also used black beans instead of peas, and canned tomatoes instead of fresh grape tomatoes (it's what I had on hand), and added a bit of lime juice to the dressing, instead of straight lemon. So you have wiggle room to have fun with this one, and it will still taste great! (And for this recipe, you will need 3 avocados to prepare both the salad portion and the dressing).

6 oz of pasta rigatoni, cooked al dente, rinsed with cold water to cool quickly, and drained
1 can black beans rinsed
6 oz frozen corn, blanched and rinsed with cold water to cool, and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp or more, ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp salt, to taste
1 1/2 avocado, cubed/chopped

Dressing: Combine the following ingredients in a food processor and mix to combine until smooth
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, not packed
1 1/2 fresh avocado, pit and skin removed - you probably know this
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 fresh garlic clove, pressed or diced

Combine the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Prepare the dressing separately in a food processor, then mix lightly into the salad to coat. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour to blend flavors and cool. Serve.

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