Pasta salad is a summer classic. It’s refreshing, filling, and can be healthy as long as you choose the right dressing.
One of my favourite things about making pasta salad is that you can usually enjoy it warm as well as cold. In this salad, all of the vegetables are raw, which means that when you combine them with the freshly cooked pasta, they stay juicy and cold. This creates a nice contrast of textures and temperatures if you’re digging in right away, but this salad is equally tasty once the pasta has cooled completely.
Oh boy have I been bad with my blogging lately! I was expecting to find that I would have more time to cook and blog once summer came around, but I’ve been surprised with how little of both I’ve managed to fit into my schedule.
On the bright side, the things I have been cooking have been really simple, fresh, and tasty, just like this salad I’m about to share. I visited my cousin in Toronto a few weeks ago and she turned me onto “chunky” salads, i.e. salads without greens in them. There’s something to be said about biting into nice big cubes of fresh summer veggies — especially when there’s also cheese involved!
This salad reminds me of a traditional Greek salad, but the choice of cheeses and the inclusion of avocado give it a bit of a new twist.
I have been coming across so many blog entries about chia pudding and cold oatmeal lately, my curiosity got the best of me and I combined both concepts into one recipe this weekend.
The basic premise of chia pudding is that chia seeds, a very healthy and nutrient-packed superfood, take on a tapioca-like texture when they’re soaked in any liquid. This quality makes these seeds the perfect candidate for a healthy dessert option. They are an easily digestible plant-based protein, easy to integrate into various recipes (they’re often used as egg replacements in vegan baking, since they bind ingredients together effectively), and neutral in flavour. And yes — chia seeds are used to grow the “hair” on Chia pets!
Cold oatmeal, on the other hand, is made by combining oatmeal and milk — either dairy or non-dairy — and letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours. The idea is that you can enjoy a healthy filling oatmeal breakfast in the summer without having to have it hot, which can feel a bit heavy when it’s warm and humid out. Oats are an excellent source of fibre and protein, low on the glycemic index, and may help reduce risks of heart disease (according to the FDA). What’s not to like?
Naturally, I can’t just follow a recipe, so when I decided to try my own cold oats/chia pudding, I had to make up my own… no recipe escapes unaltered when I get my hands on it!
I got 2 pretty ears of corn in my CSA, so I decided to make the most of them and roast the kernels for maximum flavour. Plus, it’s dead easy to do: turn your oven on, and pop the corn in, husks and all, for half an hour. Have you ever heard of easier prep!?
I combined my yummy roasted corn with some roasted cherry tomatoes and barely-steamed yellow beans, also from my food share. I dressed the whole thing with lemon juice and grainy dijon, and the resulting salad was light, sweet, and tangy. I’m so happy I have leftovers!