Tag Archives: party salad

Tuna, Apple and Macaroni Shell Salad – luncheon, potluck, picnic, or BBQ fare

22 Mar

Just like mom used to make!

I needed a quick dish for the first potluck of the season at our new CSA (Restoration Farm at Old Bethpage Restoration Village http://www.restorationfarm.com/). Normally I would do something more elaborate and planned, but the boy and I had been home sick for a couple of days and then busier than we should have been, given that we needed some recovery time, and then plain old sick of one another…just star-crossed and cross and no way was I going to a store to get any ingredients.

Then I remembered a  favorite warm weather dish that my mom would make for backyard barbecues and the like. This tuna and macaroni salad involves minimal prep and I usually have all the ingredients in. It’s creamy, but the apples provide crunch and tang, and each bite is texturally entertaining. My brother and I would just gobble it up (with extra mayonnaise, of course), delighted when two or three shells were cradled together for a really pasta-y morsel.

So I put it together in a jiffy and we took it on down to the gathering (where there were loads of other good things to eat that I need the recipes for!) and were so pleased to see many old friends of the good eating, farming persuasion…well, I was pleased, but it was not Leandro’s finest hour and we left in rather a messy, huffy hurry…anyway…the salad worked out fine and I had leftovers for lunch on Monday.

If you are observing Lent, consider it for a fast Friday fix that is balanced enough to be a one-dish meal. Thanks Mom!

Myrna’s Tuna and Macaroni Shell Pasta Salad

1 lb. medium macaroni shells

½ Cup of each the following chopped into fingernail size bits: carrots; celery; white or red onion

1 Cup Red Delicious/Macintosh/Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, chopped into fingernail size chunks

1 5oz can your preferred tuna, drained

6 Tbs mayonnaise

2 Tbs plain nonfat yogurt (low or full fat okay)

1-2 Tbs prepared mustard

Cook shells according to package directions. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve at room temperature. You can also eat it as leftovers, but you will probably want to add a bit of mayo, as the pasta tends to absorb the mayo over time.

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Greta Garbanzo (chick pea and ginger salad – keeps in the fridge!)

14 Mar

Saucy! Gingery! Healthy!

I try to make one of my daily meals a salad and I have to admit, I’ve been in a not unpleasant but not particularly exciting rut: nice lettuce, grape tomatoes (if I have the heart to buy tomatoes out of season) and cucumbers with one of those dressing mixes you make in a cruet that my mom got me addicted to and I am only somewhat ashamed to admit to. I might add some cheese, some walnuts and cranberries, red onion, but don’t really vary it much. Sometimes I make the major move of opening a can of chick peas (we call them garbanzos in Spanish) and add some.

The other day though, I remembered how easy it is to make garbanzo salad and how long it lasts in the fridge getting tastier and tastier. A scoop of this salad (a slight variation on Molly Katzen’s version in The Moosewood Cookbook) adds spice, texture and protein to an otherwise boring salad (and eliminates the need for dressing). I also take it to BBQs and other potluck affairs where I know there will be plates and forks. It is also really nice mixed with rice and eaten cold.

I named my version for Greta Garbo because the name lends itself rather obviously, but also because it is distinctive, has a subtle and intriguing spiciness, has ginger (for her ginger hair) and because no one can ever leave it alone.

Greta Garbanzo (chick pea and ginger salad)

2 15 oz cans chick peas (aka  garbanzos or ceci) rinsed and drained

2 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger root (more if you like!)

½ cup red onion, minced fine

3-4 cloves garlic, minced fine (I tend to use more)

Salt to taste (you might not need it if the garbanzos are salty)

Pinch of cumin (optional)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs red wine vinegar (cider vinegar subs in just fine. Reduce amount if using regular white vinegar)

¼ cup lemon juice (about half a juicy lemon’s worth)

Place chick peas, ginger, and red onion in a medium bowl or plastic storage bowl with a cover. In a small bowl mix the oil, vinegar and lemon juice with a whisk or a fork until emulsified (blended together). Pour dressing over chickpea mix and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate.  It’s best made at least a day ahead, but you can also make it on the fly and it will be delicious. Gets better and better over the next week.

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