I LOVE pasta! I don’t care what anyone says ;). There is a time and place for it, this I will admit. Preferably lunch time, so you can burn off the calories from the carbohydrates throughout the day and as for place, pasta in pasta salad should have a supporting role. I like to have equal amounts of veggies as I do pasta, to keep a good balance of nutrients.
It’s finally summer here in London and a great way to get some fresh air, enjoy the sunshine AND save some money, is to picnic in the park for lunch. I have these great little BPA free reusable containers, with the fork and knife built in the lid, I just fill them up, grab a blanket and off I go!
Be creative with what you have. This was a mid-week lunch made with veggies I found in my fridge. Lots of different flavors will work, so you can substitute depending on what you have at home.
- 2 cups dried good quality pasta, I like penne or fusili for pasta salads, cooked al dente
- handful of sugar snap peas
- 1 heirloom tomato (if you can)
- 1 small head of endive
- 1 sweet red pepper
- 1/2 can of artichokes
- 1/2 tbsp of chopped fresh oregano (dried can be substituted)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 small garlic clove raw
- 1/4 cup of grated good quality parmesan cheese (or a veggie substitute or for vegans, try some toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds)
- drizzle of good quality olive oil
- 1 tsp of freshly grated lemon rind
- sea salt and freshly cracked pepper (you could also try some red pepper flakes if you want some heat)
- Bring a pot of salted water to the boil for your pasta, cook for 10 min until al dente, drain and plunge into a bath of ice water to cool and stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
- Wash and chop all the veggies into bite size pieces, the peas I left whole.
- In a large bowl, add your pasta, fresh ingredients and lemon rind. Top with the parmesan cheese (or toasted seeds/nuts) and add enough olive oil and s&p to taste. Mix together well.
4 steps and you’re done! Pack into lunch containers and head to your special spot for a healthy, homemade, inexpensive lunch under the sun.