It's officially grillin' season, kids! I've actually participated in a whopping four cookouts since last Saturday, if you can believe it. And how can we forget what else is happening simultaneously with Spring's merry arrival -- March Madness! This may or may not require you to throw together some quick side dishes for all the brats, peppers, dogs, and burgers that your man or woman is grilling out in preparation for the game.
This sweet and light pasta salad will not only utilize all the extra veggies in your fridge, but also incorporates homemade dressing to go with it that you can also use on salads.
For the pasta:
- Fusilli Pasta
- Sweet Corn
- Dried Cranberries
- Feta Cheese
- Salt + Pepper
- Crushed Red Pepper
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
Begin by boiling water for pasta, and don't forget a little salt. Once it boils, drop in 2-3 handfuls of pasta and cook until tender. Next, chop up your fresh broccoli and add it to another saucepan of water (also with a little salt), cover, and bring to a boil. Broccoli will take about 10 minutes or so to cook.
While the broccoli is cooking and you're waiting for your pasta water to boil, chop up your cabbage and heat a frying pan with olive oil. Add your cabbage and cook for 3-5 minutes (you still want it to be crunchy). Place in a side bowl for the time being, before repeating the same thing for spinach. Place in the same bowl, and prepare the rest of your ingredients. I used a can of sweet corn that was already cooked and just needed to be drained. I also used a handful of dried cranberries and a few teaspoons of feta cheese (save for the very end).
Your broccoli will more than likely be ready before the pasta, so just drain and add it to the same side bowl as your cabbage and spinach. Once the pasta is done, drain and add to a large mixing bowl. Immediately add the broccoli, spinach, cabbage, corn, salt + pepper, crushed red pepper, rosemary, and Dijon dressing, and mix altogether. Doing this while everything is still warm lets the flavors blend. Once you're ready to put it into the fridge, add some feta cheese and mix once more.
To make the dressing:
Simply add a tablespoon of dijon mustard, a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of vinegar, and a tablespoon of maple syrup and whisk together. This will create a light and sweet dressing that will stick to the food and not run to the bottom (it's the secret ingredient of maple syrup that does this). You can make a lot of this and bottle/can it yourself for salads later on.
Remember: you can use whatever veggies, meats, fish, dressings or pasta you want for pasta salad, as it is pretty easy to make in general. But, if you're looking to steer clear of any mayo-infused dressings, or want something a little more than just plane old EVOO + Vinegar, this dressing will definitely do the trick. Adjust everything to your liking and to your taste.
Refrigerate and enjoy!