Thursday, July 05, 2012

7 Layer pasta salad

Usually when I bring a salad for my lunch I end up eating everything in it- except for the lettuce. That is, a few pieces of chicken or cheese, nuts, tomatos or whatever other "prizes" (as my mom calls them)  are in the salad.  I would then be hungry and snack constantly throughout the afternoon. Nothing worse than trying to be healthy and then eating more in snacks than if you'd just eaten a big mac.  On several occasions, Emily and I each brought salads in to work and were less then excited for our lunches. "Would you like to try some of my salad?" I would ask. "no thanks.. want to try mine?" "no, that's alright..thanks".

Emily even got a text from her mom last week, with a photo of a salad- and a sad face :(, disappointed that that was her lunch. With the right ingredients and a good dressing, salads can be exciting, delicious, and dare I say it - even filling.

I found this recipe in the food network magazine and was super excited to try it out. It looked really good, and although it is labelled a pasta salad, pasta is only one of the layers, making it much healthier then a generic pasta salad. I made several modifications to the recipe, so here is my version. One of the great things about it, is you can substitute and use whatever veggies and meat you have on hand. Quantities can also be adapted depending ont he number of people.

- veggies: broccoli, cucumber, yellow pepper, tomato
- lettuce
- farfalle pasta
- lime juice
- cooked chicken, or whatever meat or tofu you have on hand (I made tandoori chicken by broiling chicken I had marinated in yogurt/ tandoori paste, but anything you have is good)
- cheddar cheese, grated

For the dressing:
-1/4 cup (light) mayonnaise
-1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don't have any on hand, put 1 T lemon juice and 1/2 cup regular milk and wait 5 mintues)
-1/4 cup chives
-1/4 cup parsley
- salt and pepper
- lime juice of one lime (or 1 T lime juice)

-Cook farfalle according until al dente- 2 mintues less then package instructions
- If putting broccoli in the salad, add it in for the last 4 minutes of cooking
- drain, rinse with cold water and pat try.
- Mix together dressing, and add a few tablespoons to pasta in a medium bowl.
- put lime juice and a bit of salt on avocado.
- Start compiling the salad. First put in the avocado, then broccoli or cucumber, then add in meat, pasta, cheese, more veggies, lettuce, tomatos, and top with a few tablespoons of the dressing- voila!

I am excited to eat this salad!! Next time I will use a bigger container as I could barely get the lid on this one..

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