One thing I am happy about is that I made this salad when I did. Now I can relax and I don't have to worry about cooking anything and heating up the house. Everything is right there in it... protein, veggies, and grains! I like to take it out of the refrigerator at least a half hour before I want to eat so that the flavors are even better.
I love dishes like this. Whenever I have leftover chicken, vegetables or pantry items that have been sitting around for a while, I make this pasta salad. The beauty of it is that you can make it with whatever you have on hand at the time, it always tastes great and it's never the same the next time you make it.
by Mixed Salad Annie
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, stems discarded
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fusilli pasta
2 cups cooked chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup cauliflower florets, 1/2 cup broccoli florets, 1/2 cup baby carrots (quartered lengthwise), all steamed until aldente (about 5-6 minutes)
1/4 cup mixed black and green olives, pitted and sliced
1 small can water chestnuts
1/4 cup jarred marinated mushrooms, cut in half
1 small jar roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1/4 cup 50% less fat- sharp cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Add the parsley, vinegar, garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the motor is running. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to box instructions and drain.
In a large serving bowl, mix the pasta with the remaining ingredients, except tomatoes. Drizzle with dressing, toss and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.
Take pasta salad out of the refrigerator about a half hour before serving and toss in the tomatoes.