It’s hot outside. I mean really hot. So cool summer salads have been on the menu at least once a week in this house. Best thing about them is I can do most of the work the night before a long day at the office and have dinner basically ready and waiting when we come home.
This is a very basic recipe with key elements that can swapped and traded out to create a new flavor every week. So, the ingredients below are just an example and you can experiment on your own to create delicious and refreshing summer meals!
8 oz Pasta (1/2 of a package, Penne pictured)
1 Roma Tomato
1/2 Large Cucumber
1 Cup of Frozen Peas
2-4 oz Mozzarella Cheese
4 oz of Italian Salad Dressing
2 Tbsp Mayonnaise (optional for creamy salads)
2.6 oz Pouch of Tuna
Boil the pasta as directed, rinse with cool water and drain. Dice the tomatoes and cucumber. Cube the mozzarella cheese (if I have the kids individually wrapped cheese sticks I just slice up 2 or 3 of them). Toss the veggies, pasta, cheese, and tuna in a big bowl. I usually just add the peas frozen still and let it defrost in the fridge. If you do this, add the salad dressing in and mix it all together to refrigerate. The dressing then soaks into the pasta and veggies for flavor. Then before serving, mix in the mayo (if you want a creamy salad) or splash in some more dressing if its gotten a little stiff with refrigeration. Simple, tasty and refreshing on a hot day!
I’ve mixed this up in all kinds of variations too. Use your favorite pasta, I’ve even used orzo. With cooked and cooled broccoli, cubes of chicken or mini pepperoni slices. Greek dressing with olives and feta cheese. With and without the mayo. Topped with fresh, healthy home grown sprouts. Find your favorite veggie and protein mixes to create your own dish to enjoy and stay cool with!