Eating a steady diet of salads does tend to keep the weight off, after all. But even if you have no weight issues that you agonize over, eating a salad like this is just plain healthy. You are getting unprocessed nutrients from the veggies, especially if it is summertime and you can pick them directly from your garden or select them from local farm stands.
You can always mix up the variety of the veggies that you include in your salad, to suit your personal preferences or depending on the availability of different veggies in your area. If you do not like the Italian-based vinaigrette dressing, you can always choose one that suits your tastes. Use this recipe as a template and use your imagination to create YOUR perfect salad!
For the Salad Dressing:
1 cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon celery seed
¼ teaspoon salt or more, to taste
For the Pasta Salad:
1 pound thin spaghetti broken into thirds
2 medium zucchini diced
1 pint grape tomatoes halved
1 large hot house cucumber diced
1 medium green bell pepper diced
1 medium red bell pepper diced
1 red onion diced
1 (6.5 ounce) can sliced black olives drained
Whisk together in a small bowl (or shake in a jar with a tight-fitting lid) the olive oil, red wine vinegar, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, oregano, poppy seeds, garlic, paprika, celery seed, and salt. Mix well, allowing the flavors to blend while you prepare the salad.
Prepare spaghetti to the al dente level of doneness, according to package directions, about 9 minutes. Drain well and rinse in cold water.
Meanwhile, combine zucchini, tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, onion, and black olives in a large bowl. Add rinsed pasta and drizzle with salad dressing to taste (you don’t have to use it all). Toss gently to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Toss again just prior to serving.
USE RED NEXT PAGE LINK BELOW
Quick Tip: The trouble with most salads of this type is that they use a bottled Italian salad dressing. But there’s a better way! Make your own red wine vinaigrette dressing, using the recipe as posted. If you just do not have the time or inclination to “make your own,” at least add the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, celery seeds, paprika and Parmesan cheese called for in the recipe. It will vastly improve the taste of your salad.
Recipe and image courtesy of Meggan at Culinary Hill