Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Garden Fresh Pasta Salad (Part 2 of Vegetable Base)

This is great for summer lunches - cold, refreshing, delicious and healthy!

Garden Vegetable Base

1 medium head of broccoli (cut into small pieces)
2 or 3 green onions (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (diced thinly)
1 red or yellow bell pepper (diced thinly)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
3 large carrots (peeled and shredded)
3 cooked or baked chicken breasts (either shredded or cut into bite sized pieces) (sometimes I use leftover baked chicken from the night before or sometimes to save time I buy chicken breasts that have already been baked)
1 bunch of cilantro (washed and chopped)
1/4 teaspoon ground hot chile pepper or cayenne (again - I prefer spicy food so I will add more than 1/2 teaspoon - but only add according to your taste)
NOTE:  Many times I will substitue tender young zucchini or yellow squash for the celery or I will add whatever is in season from the garden at that time.

Prepare everything as directed above.  In a large stainless steel or glass bowl - Stir all ingredients together by hand using a wooden spoon.  Split "vegetable base" into 3 equal parts.  Use 1/3 of vegetable base for recipe below.
Note to Vegetarians:  Simply omit the chicken breasts

"Garden Vegetable Base" before dividing into thirds

Garden Fresh Pasta Salad

1/3 Vegetable Base
1 English Cucumber (peeled and cubed)
1 package Penne Pasta - cooked, drained and cooled (I like to use the low-carb pasta but vegetable pasta is also good)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise

Cut the cucumber and cook the pasta (as explained in ingredient list).  Mix 1/3 of the vegetable base, the cut cucumber, the pasta (cooked, drained and cooled) and the mayonnaise by hand with a wooden spoon.
(Again, this recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in the refridgerator)

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