I don’t know about you, but when the temps here in Florida hit high 90s with loads of humidity and steam is rising from the pavement after a storm, I wilt like a spinach leaf left in the trunk of a warm car. Which means I don’t really feel like the effort of cooking a hot meal. This is where salads step up and take center stage.
My favorite nutritious and filling salad is Italian pasta salad. There’s no real recipe attached, save for my standard ingredients of whole wheat penne, capers, olives, and a tangy, salty homemade vinaigrette dressing. Veggies are whatever you might have on hand, and this particular one (to the left) contains zucchini, broccoli, onion, yellow grape tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes. You could easily use fresh red tomatoes, yellow squash, green onions, or finely-torn spinach. Anything goes. A handful of fresh herbs in my salad, such as basil and chives, round it out nicely. (Hey, meat-eaters: I bet you could get away with a half cup of thinly-sliced salami in this salad.)
Pasta salads make a nice meal on their own, lunch or dinner. Whether you serve them with a pitcher of iced tea or a pitcher of sangria, these dressy salads are versatile, colorful, and most importantly, healthful.