Fresh & Simple Italian Pasta Salad

Last Updated on April 7, 2016 by smartkitchenpicks

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Growing up in California, I’ve been a bit spoiled on the produce side of things. Beautifully plump and rosy strawberries; vibrant leafy greens; perfectly ripe and creamy avocados. The eating here can’t be beat! Sunday is one of my favorite days primarily because the local Farmer’s Market is open and, as some of my closer friends know, I have a Sunday morning routine that includes coffee, a long walk along the beach or trails, a trip to the Farmer’s Market, and cooking up a delicious lunch with what I’ve bought. Since I do this on most Sundays, I have to stay creative with how I use my produce, but usually like to stick to some sort of fresh pasta dish. For me, no meal screams “comfort” more than a big bowl of noodles! Better yet, there’s this one small stand at the very end of the rows of vendors that sells fresh, homemade spaghetti noodles and I always make sure to pick up some of their garlic bread as well to help complete my meal! This recipe is the latest and greatest of my Sunday morning routine pastas. It’s easy to make and the light flavors are perfect for the warmer weather and keep you coming back for more!

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The beauty of this recipes comes with all the options and customizations you can make! I absolutely love cherry tomatoes, but I know some people aren’t the biggest fans. My housemate, Lana, for example, actually has an irrational fear of tomatoes. I know that sounds like some sort of joke, but I’m completely serious in that she cannot even stand touching a tomato, let alone eating them. It’s at the point where she can’t even have a tomato touching the rest of her food or she won’t eat it. Irrational? Yes. Avoidable? Completely! If you have the same tomato-phobia as Lana, feel free to substitute them out for another veggie that pulls at your heartstrings! With all the great produce coming out, it’s easy to swap different combinations in and out for fun flavor pairings and textures. Personally, I’m thinking that a variations involving spinach,, bell peppers, and broccoli would be divine!

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This recipe is perfect for anyone who loves cooking up meals that are easy, delicious, and healthy! If you’re looking for a meal to make with kids, you can’t go wrong with pasta and sneaking in extra veggies will help them get in their vitamins without them even noticing. To make it, simply boil the noodles till al dente, add in the roughly chopped veggies, drizzle on the Italian dressing, and toss to combine! It doesn’t get much simpler than that, and this recipe tastes even better the day after you make it since all the flavors come together beautifully given some time. Even though I prepared this just for myself, I made the full batch so that I could have several meals that could help tide me over in regards to my busy schedule. Running to and from class, managing my photography/blog buusinesses, and trying to live a normal college life doesn’t lend itself to having a huge amount of time to cook (which sounds weird coming from a food blogger, I know!) and I always appreciate being able to pull something already made out from the fridge.

fresh-simple-italian-pasta-salad-9729166If you’re following certain dietary restrictions, you can easily sub in gluten-free pasta or lessen the amount of Italian dressing you put on the noodles to reduce the amount of calories and fat. One aspect that I wouldn’t change is to not use garlic salt. Garlic salt is EASILY one of my all-time favorite ingredients and it packs a powerful punch of delicious flavor with just a small sprinkle.

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