It’s Sunday!! My favorite day for a good brunch or a BBQ with friends! Do you ever get that call, you know the one that says “hey, were having a BBQ this afternoon, come over!” And you immediately think, yes!! And then you think, oh no. What am I going to bring? I have no time. You know what you’re going to bring? This salad! I have two tricks that bring this salad together in just under 10 minutes. Ready?
- A mix of veggies, olives and peppers from the olive bar. You know the one where you always grab the blue cheese stuffed olives for your martini? Yeah, that’s the one! The oil that comes with that mix also helps make a very flavorful dressing.
- A bag of frozen veggies
You see, a great pasta salad has lots of different ingredients, but with the different ingredients comes lots of prep, cooking and chopping. My two tricks above save you that! The official recipe is below, but here are the steps, to show you just how easy it is!
- Quickly run to the store. First, head to the olive bar, grab the small container and fill it with a mix of olives, peppers and veggies. For mine I had a few different pitted olives, roasted garlic, peppadew peppers and roasted tomatoes. Next, head to the refrigerated section, grab a package of whole wheat tortellini, some reduced fat cheese sticks, and some turkey pepperoni. Finally jump over to the freezer section and grab a bag of mixed veggies, mine had carrots, green beans and peas. To home we go!
- Turn the oven on to 400*, throw the veggies on a sheet pan and throw them in. (When I actually made this recipe, I used a 10oz bag of veggies, those are the small ones, because they were on sale, so I supplemented with 1 zucchini that I quickly chopped. If you want to avoid the zucchini, just get the larger bag of veggies, I think they’re about 16oz.) Roast as long as you have time for, 20-30 minutes would be perfect, but you can do less if you have less time, you just wont get the brown color. It’ll taste delicious either way! I just love a good roast to my veggies, as demonstrated here.
- Put water on to boil, once boiling add pasta and cook according to package directions, mine was 8 minutes.
- Grab the bowl you’re going to serve and/or store the salad in once it’s finished, pour 1 Tbls of oil from your olive mix container, and whisk/shake/stir together with dijon mustard and vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper too.
- Drain the rest of the oil off the olive mix and dump out on a cutting board. Add 3 cheese sticks and turkey pepperoni and roughly chop everything. Size isn’t super important. I just like to get a good mix of ingredients on my fork. If you leave the peppers whole, they’re going to take up your fork full and be pretty strong on your palate.
- Drain pasta and allow to cool.
- Remove veggies from oven, let cool
- Toss everything together
- Go to your party! Have a beer for me. Or better yet, some pool party punch.
This recipe is also perfect for your weekday lunches, and can easily be made ahead of time. In fact, this recipe gives you 4 solid lunch size portions for 375 calories a piece. You’ll be set almost for the whole week.
What makes this recipe so much healthier and lower in calories than your average pasta salad are two things. There’s more veggies than pasta. A typical pasta salad is all pasta with a sprinkling of veggies. With this salad you get to enjoy the pasta, but you’re really filling up on the veggies. Also, the dressing is not mayonnaise based, like most. If you are really in love with creamy pasta salads, just add about 1/4 cup greek yogurt sauce. You probably know my take on creamy pasta salads. But if you don’t, yummmmm.
- 1 package Whole Wheat Cheese Tortellini- I used Buitoni from the refrigerated section
- I cup- mixed olives, roasted garlic and veggies from the olive bar
- 17 slices- turkey pepperoni
- 3- Reduced fat cheese sticks
- 1 10 oz bag- frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 Zucchini- chopped
- 2 Tbls vinegar- I used white balsamic, but regular balsamic, red or white wine, champagne, would all be delicious!
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- Heat oven to 400*
- Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and roasted veggies for 20-30 until browned
- Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions, once cooked drain and cool
- Measure 1 Tbls of the oil from the olive bar into a large bowl
- Add the vinegar and dijon mustard and whisk to combine
- Drain the rest of the olive/veggie mix and transfer to a cutting board, roughly chop
- Add to vinaigrette
- Chop pepperoni and cheese, add to bowl with olive mix and vinaigrette
- Once pasta is cooled, add to bowl
- Remove veggies from oven, allow to cool
- Add to bowl and carefully combine everything