lunch is a challenge for me. i often forget to eat lunch because i get working and by the time i realize what time it is - it is time for dinner. the days i do remember lunch it seems so difficult to come up with something quick to make. i find that having soup or pasta salad in the fridge is the only solution to my dilemma.
the best part of pasta salad is you can make a huge batch of it and eat it all week for lunch. there is enough going on in the dishes so you don't get sick of them.
i make all different kinds of pasta salad - the variations are endless really. the one constant is the warm lemon vinaigrette. it is the best thing since sliced bread - no joke. something magical happens to a vinaigrette when warmed. all the flavors are a bit more available and bright. it seems to penetrate the tomatoes, carrot, olives, mozzarella and pasta more than a cold vinaigrette. don't believe me - TRY IT! you will not be disappointed.
this variation of pasta salad is inspired my alex's cousin mark. we lost mark to brain cancer a couple years ago. he used to bring the "mark appetizer" to family events. it was simple and totally perfect. a skewer with tortellini - cherry/grape tomatoes - green olive - and mozzarella with a vinaigrette for dunking. perfection!
i decided this could make an amazing pasta salad combination. i added carrots because i swear i am losing my eye sight one day at a time for working in front of a computer every day.
here are a couple of my other go-to lunch dishes
spicy vegetable barley soup
orzo with roasted vegetables
pasta and vegetables with warm lemon vinaigrette
tortellini pasta salad with tomatoes, olives, mozzarella and carrots
1 lb of your favorite tortellini (i used tri-colored cheese filled)
1 cup grape tomatoes - halved
5 carrots - sliced thin
1/4 cup your favorite olives
8 oz fresh mozzarella balls
1 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon whole fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 lemons, zested
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
grated parmesan for the top
cook the pasta per directions on box
toss pasta, tomatoes, olives, mozzarella and carrots in large bowl.
heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan and add the thyme, garlic, and lemon zest. cook over low heat for 1 minute. Off the heat, add the lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. pour the hot vinaigrette over the pasta.
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