Why is that whenever my kids open the refrigerator during the summer and it’s packed with healthy, wholesome vittles, they say, “There’s nothing to eat around here!” Meanwhile, the fridge is bursting with food and the counters are overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables. What’s a meal-planning-frugal-foodie-home-cookin’-mom to do? Make pasta salad!! Pasta salad is my response to this statement. Pasta salad is basically a meal in a bowl and when I whip this out of the refrigerator in response to the above statement, everyone is happy.
Summer is my salad time of year. I want to cook (or get one of those complaining kids who says there’s nothing to eat to cook!) early in the day and then check it off my to do list. It’s also nice to get the cooking done before it gets too warm in my little kitchen! I especially like meals that are quick, easy, healthy, and filling.
This salad is good year round and not just in the summer. I like to keep pasta salads around during the school year, too. That way, when my hungry kids walk through the door after school, they’ve got a healthy snack that’s ready for them to eat. It’s also nice for lunch. My husband and I like to eat salads like this while our kids are at school. Again, quick, easy, healthy, and filling.
I usually go with a double batch for our family of 4. If we have it for dinner one night, we’ve got leftovers for lunch or snacks. Well, and breakfast. My kids love to eat leftovers for breakfast, too!
- 12 ounce – 16 ounce (1 pound) whole wheat pasta
- 1 pound shrimp, cooked and peeled, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- ¼ cup onion, chopped
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¾ cup mayonnaise, light
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- juice of ½ lemon
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- salt/pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to instructions, drain and cool.
- Place pasta in large bowl.
- Chop vegetables and add to bowl.
- In small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients and whisk until completely mixed together.
- Pour dressing over pasta, shrimp, and veggies. Mix and enjoy.
- Store in an air-tight container in your refrigerator. When serving as a leftover, you may to add more dressing – just mix it in the bowl if necessary.
- I buy my whole wheat pasta at Winco Foods, from their bulk bins section. It’s the best price around (even if you have a coupon for the national brand) and I can measure exactly how much I need. Find a “no-frills, bag your own food” grocery store in your area if you don’t have one of these.
- Many manufacturers are making whole wheat or whole grain pasta but it comes in 12 ounce or 13 ounce packages instead of 16 ounce or 1 pound packages. I’ve been tricked by this – buying 13 ounces when I thought it was 16 ounces! – so use what you have and if making a pound, toss in more veggies and make a little more dressing if you need to.
- I use frozen peas and frozen shrimp in this recipe. Once I cook the pasta and drain it, I add the frozen peas and frozen shrimp to cool the pasta down. Food that works for you? Yes, please!
- In the summer, substitute what you have fresh in your garden – peas, green beans or tomatoes – all of these would be great in here, too!
- I use frozen, baby shrimp for this recipe. Buy it in a 5-pound package and then re-package it into smaller, 1-pound containers at home and pop them into your freezer. It’s so easy to keep shrimp on hand when it’s frozen, peeled, and measured out in advance. It’s tasty and easily adds protein to this and lots of other dishes.
What’s your answer to the statement, “There’s nothing to eat around here!”
Go Gingham related links:
Shrimp and quinoa salad – a summer favorite
Simple summer salad with tomatoes and cucumbers – oh, and onions and fresh dill
After school snacks that don’t have any extra packaging –prepared at home!!
Betsy’s best brownies – our chicken who is no longer with us – these are great for after school snacking, too!