Salad Days

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.

The summer salad, pre-tossed.

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.

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