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Pasta Salad, All Week


Good morning!


In my small kitchen, turning on the oven for more than 30 minutes really does impact the temperature of the rest of the house, for the next few hours. It's hot outside, and for this reason, I've been gravitating towards batch cooking and cold salad prepping. Aside from a few meals where I'm cooking something specific and very substantial, most of my meals are versions of themselves from the day before, cold and crunchy, and mostly already made.


For starters, I've been making some sort of pasta salad at the beginning of each week. One whole box or sleeve of pasta, copious amounts of a vinegarette mixed with shaved vegetables like radish and carrot, chopped nuts and olives, cucumbers and tomatoes, and a block of pesto rescued from the freezer. Sometimes there are boiled eggs, leftover chicken or fish, and green onions if I'm lucky. (Green onions make everything better, no?) On day 3 when the pasta salad is almost gone, sometimes I'll mix in a can of high-quality tuna in oil into the bowl, adding maybe only a squeeze of lemon or a bit more salt. Sometimes the vinaigrette is augmented by a big dollop of mayo or alternatively, some tahini. And cheese! Cheese gets eaten first at my house, so if I want a pasta salad to have cheese, like feta or a sharp cheddar, I better have just gone to the grocery store. Sometimes I make a big batch of what we've started calling "crunchies" - fried and seasoned panko with lemon zest, herbs, and sunflower seeds, which gets piled on top of pasta salad (or regular salad) for some interesting...well, crunch. Fried onions or shallots would fill the same void, as would croutons or toasted bits of pita.


For the best pasta-salad salad experience, I strongly recommend either roasting or boiling all of your Vrdnt roots - carrots, beets, potatoes, and then storing in individual Tupperware, tossed with a bit of salt, olive oil, and a splash of vinegar. These are ready to go to top, or maybe even bottom, a big bowl of cold noodles - mini salads themselves, ready to join the pasta party, or not. Sometimes the pasta salad is served on a plate over a bed of lettuce or arugula, and sometimes I just eat it directly from its storage container, using the fork that often lives on top of the Tupperware in the fridge. Pasta salad is like basecamp for everything pickled in the fridge. When the pasta needs stretching, you can simply add to it: a generous cup of slivered celery, or a can of beans, or both. This pasta salad is also a great lunch for my husband to bring to work, tucked away in his tiny cooler. The crunchies get thrown in a ziplock bag.


Anyway, if you're hot, and sad, and sick, and at a loss, maybe just make a big batch of cold noodle salad, and call it good. (It is good.)



Photo by Mackenzie Smith Kelley


Cucumbers

Sesame Ginger and Cucumber Soba Noodles

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Japanese Cucumber Salad

Smashed Asian Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Pasta Salad

Cucumber and Mint Salad Recipe


Potatoes

Herring and Potato Salad with Brown Butter

Loaded Potato Pasta Salad

Herbed Potato Salad (no mayo)

Fingerling Potato Salad with Aioli, Pesto, Fried Shallots, Pecorino


Carrots

Herby Crunch Rice Noodle Salad (this ingredients list doesn't technically list carrots, but it should!)

Scallops with Carrot Zoodles and Butter Sauce

French Grated Salad with Lemon Dijon

Cucumber and Carrot Noodle Thai Salad

Carrot Peanut Noodle Salad


Beet

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

Beet Salad with Feta Cucumbers and Dill

Beet Salad with Pecan Arugula Pesto

Roasted Beet Salad with Horseradish Creme Fraiche and Pistachios


Cabbage

Chinese Chicken Salad Summer Rolls

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe

Asian Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing

Spicy Rice Noodle Salad with Cabbage and Tofu

Asian Pasta Salad

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