With the weather getting so hot here I needed a nice cold lunch, preferably one that I could pack in the ice chest to take to the zoo with minimal trouble and mess. My husband suggested a pasta salad but every one I’ve tried to make in that past did not have the right blend of flavors and would not appeal to little ones.
I took a look at this Ranch & Bacon pasta salad when I was doing my grocery shopping.
The name sounds awesome & they make it look so appealing, just add 1/2 cup mayo & 1 & 1/2 cups of your choice of meat. The problem is I’ve made these before & they are horrible. Dried & powdery tasting with chewy “re-hydrated” veggies.
Then I thought, if it sounds so good, it probably would be if I made it using fresh ingredients. I see carrots, peas, pasta, a meat and a ranch style sauce; Shouldn’t be to hard to duplicate. I decided to make a large batch on Sunday night, pack some for the zoo on Monday & hopefully have enough for lunches for the week; great plan but as fast as both my little ones are going through this, even my extremely picky eater, it may only last until Wednesday or Thursday!
Here’s how I did it.
Cook a 10 oz box of pasta according to package directions:
Grate 2 carrots and add them to cooked & drained pasta.
Add 1 & 1/2 – 2 cups of frozen peas.
Add two cans of your favorite tuna. (I use Wild Planet Skipjack because it is the only kind I can have while I’m pregnant & it tastes soooo good, we use it all the time. Also from Amazon Subscribe & Save.)
Once you have all these ingredients mixed mix up the dressing.
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
2 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dill
Lemon zest & juice of one lemon.
Combine your dressing with the pasta, I used about 2/3 of this dressing recipe when I mixed the salad up the night before & the next morning I found the pasta had absorbed so much of the dressing I ended up using the rest of it as well & it was perfect.
Taste the salad & add salt as needed. I had to salt twice, once when I made it & then again the next day after the flavors had melded. After that it was perfect for the rest of the week.
Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld & add additional dressing and salt as needed before serving.
The way this is being gobbled up at my house I think I may have to make a second batch! I’m happy though, it is a great way to get protein, whole grains & fresh raw veggies into them so they can have as much as they like.