One day last week, after a long day at work, I felt a slight hunger in my belly. I was kinda craving pasta and kinda craving salad but one seemed like too much and the other not enough. Then it hit me, “Why not put a little salad and a little pasta together in a bowl?” Both go great with Italian dressing and who cares if the greens wilt a little from the hot pasta? Well, as it turns out, the mixed baby greens didn’t wilt AT ALL and this dish was absolutely perfect. Since the main dish that I’ll be cooking later this week is Italian inspired, I decided to make a real batch of this wonderfully literal pasta salad to go along with it. Generally, I think spring mix is too expensive for it’s own good (usually about $3 per bag) but I love the stuff oh so much. Therefore, I watch closely and snatch it up when it’s on sale!
Pasta Salad (literally)
Pasta Salad (literally)
Pasta + Salad = Pasta Salad (quite literally!). Combining pasta with your favorite salad makes it more filling and stretches those expensive greens!
- 5 oz bag spring mix/baby greens $2.00
- 6 oz wide egg noodles "dumplings" $0.78
- 1 can artichoke hearts in water, not oil $2.09
- 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.98
- 1/2 cup Italian dressing $0.45
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan $0.31
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook the egg noodles according to the package directions (boil for 5-10 minutes). When they are done, drain them in a colander.
While the pasta cooks, empty the bag of spring mix into a large bowl. Drain and roughly chop the artichoke hearts and add them to the bowl. Wash and slice the grape tomatoes in half then add to the bowl.
At this point the pasta should be done cooking and draining. Shake the colander a bit to make sure all excess water has dripped away. Add the pasta, italian dressing and Parmesan cheese to the bowl.
Mix well and serve! I love how the warm pasta juxtaposes the cool vegetables in this dish. It is fantastic when served immediately. I ate leftovers of it today at lunch and microwaved it for 30 seconds or so. It was still lovely even though the greens wilted just a bit!
Step by Step Photos
STEP 3: At this point the pasta should be done cooking and draining. Shake the colander a bit to make sure all excess water has dripped away. Add the pasta, italian dressing and Parmesan cheese to the bowl.
STEP 4: Mix well and serve! I love how the warm pasta juxtaposes the cool vegetables in this dish. It is fantastic when served immediately. I ate leftovers of it today at lunch and microwaved it for 30 seconds or so. It was still lovely even though the greens wilted just a bit!
NOTE: I mentioned earlier that bagged salad mixes tend to go on sale. If you watch your flyers closely, you will notice a sale pattern with the salad mixes. They go on sale like clock work every other week or every two weeks or so. This is because of their “best if used by” date. The grocery stores have to move the product out before they go bad and they lose money. I see them on sale frequently for 2 for $4 so this is the price I used in the recipe cost analysis. I would not buy them for $3 a pop. Here is the real kicker… when I bought this salad mix, it was on sale for an astounding $0.99 per bag! I had never seen it so low and I didn’t want to skew the average price of this recipe, so I used the more common sale price. I bought this mix on 12/24 and it had a “best if used by” date of 12/26. Well, today is 12/28 and the unused bag (I bought two) is still gorgeous and unwilted. So, don’t be afraid of an approaching “best if used by” date! Let your eyes be the judge and take advantage of the sale!
If you don’t plan on serving the salad all at once, I would suggest storing the components separately and building the salad one bowl at a time. You can bowl the whole lot of pasta and just keep that in a container by its self. Keep the artichokes and tomatoes separate from the spring mix to keep it from wilting. When you decide to eat a salad, simply combine the ingredients and go! It will take less than 5 minutes and be totally fresh.