This whole self love / self acceptance process has resulted in a bit of cockeyed optimism about my size and appearance lately. I've been looking in the mirror and thinking, yeah - cool, not bad.
Nothing like a dose of reality from the fashion industry to cure a person of such frivolously positive self image. I spotted a really cute, open shoulder, graphical t-shirt in the window of Fashion Bug on my way to work this morning so I stopped in on my way home to check it out. It only comes in standard size, not plus. No problem - since I was already there I took a look around to see if I could maybe add a few pairs to my acceptable pants for work collection.
One trip to the dressing room and two try-ons later I remembered exactly why I don't let myself shop alone.
Anyway, yeah... pasta salad!
The idea for this can be attributed to Giada De Laurentiis, not because it’s specifically one of her recipes but just because my idea for it came from watching her show where she makes such things all the freaking time.
You will need:
Leftover pasta (fun shapes like bow ties are better than long strands like angel hair for this).
Leftover steamed veggies like broccoli, asparagus, kale or Brussels sprouts.***
Some fresh veggies like colorful peppers, mushrooms, raw spinach, bean sprouts or tomatoes.
Combine the above! Chop the vegetables to bite sized bits to match the pasta. Got some fresh herbs like basil laying around? They’re more than welcome at this party.
How much depends on just how much leftover pasta you’re dealing with and how “dressed” you like your pasta salad, but as a rule of thumb you want to have about 40% of your acid component to 60% of your base.
Your base will be olive oil, your acid can be whichever one makes you happy – lemon juice, lime juice, or whichever vinegar mows your lawn.
So for example, for a cup of dressing you’ll want 5 tablespoons of your base (olive oil) and 3 tablespoons of your acid (juice).
Then add in about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few healthy shakes of pepper. I also like to mash and mince up a garlic clove or two and throw it into the dressing.
Whisk together thoroughly, pour it over your salad, toss – and enjoy!
The carbohydrate component of this salad (the pasta) is bad for you. To be honest pasta isn’t something you ever need to eat but, well yeah – like that’s going to happen. One of my dietary goals is actually just to be realistic with myself, and swearing off Italian for life isn’t a realistic goal for me. Other than that it makes for a healthy, tasty lunch that efficiently uses up some pesky leftovers. It is still LOADS better for you than traditional mayonnaise and egg laden pasta salads.
You can use this exact same base & acid dressing style on canned tuna to improve the quality of your tuna salad as well. I like it with white beans, grape tomatoes and scallion with a lemony vinaigrette. Yes, olive oil still has fat in it – but you’re consuming a healthier vegetable fat instead of whatever hellish substance mayo is made from (it’s either demon drool or egg yolks – I’m not sure which).
***A note on steaming vegetables: If you’re like me and you want them hot, bright green and retaining some crunch – you want to get your water boiling before you put them in there. When you’re ready with a full boil and a pot full of steam – dump in the greenery and slam down the lid, then turn the heat OFF. Wait seven minutes and then get them out of there. They should be just right – but leaving them any longer, you’re risking mushiness. Course if mushy is your thing then disregard this note entirely and rock on.