Italian Pasta and Bean Salad

Max has had one too many quesadillas this week for lunch (he takes them in his lunch box and eats them cold at school). I didn’t have my usual abundance of left overs for him this week and our fridge contents have been a bit sad. He did score the Asian Noodle Stir Fry left overs one day this week…but that was it. So to make it up to him, I made this yummy salad for him to bring tomorrow. He already had a preview snack this afternoon and loved it. This type of thing is right up his alley.

I blanched some french green beans, then shocked them in some ice cold water so they would stay nice and crisp and keep their pretty green color.

Rinsed and drained canned garbanzo beans…

Rinsed and drained canned kidney beans…

I had the deli cut some Genoa salami for me in a 1/4″ slice so that I could dice it into cubes…

I did the same with some sharp provolone cheese…

I minced some shallot and chopped a couple of good handfuls of Italian Parsley…

I added a can of sliced black olives, some salt and pepper, and dressed it with a simple vinaigrette and it came together deliciously!

Italian Pasta and Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of  bow-tie pasta (about 1/2 of a package)
  • 1  eight ounce bag of french green beans (my grocery store sells them already trimmed, washed and bagged)
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2  1/4 inch slices (about 4 ounces) of Genoa salami, cut into small cubes
  • 2  1/4 inch slices of sharp provolone cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 of a shallot chopped small
  • 1 small can (4 ounce) of sliced black olives
  • a couple of handfuls of fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette – see recipe below

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water for about a minute less than normal ( you want it just a touch under done so because it will soak up some of the dressing). While the pasta cooks, blanch the green beans in some salted boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove the beans from the pot and immediately shock them in some ice cold water. Lay them on a paper towel to dry then chop them into 1 -2 inch pieces.  When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, combine the canned beans, green beans, drained pasta, salami cubes, cheese cubes, black olives, chopped shallots and vinaigrette. Add the parsley, mix well, and season with salt and pepper (I used about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt). You can eat this at room temp…we had a little taste of it and it was great, but it will be even better after the flavors have some time to come together!

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I put mine through a press)
  • a few shakes of dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and the vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper.This is a pretty zippy dressing on it’s own, but once it is all mixed in the salad it isn’t so strong.

All packaged up for school tomorrow. I wonder if all of his friends will be jealous? 🙂



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Caprese Sandwich

Max is picky when it comes to sandwiches which requires some creativity for his school lunches. He has no interest in PB & J and he doesn’t do deli type sandwich meat unless it is prosciutto or good salami. I know…a food snob at the age of 8. He really prefers a vegetarian sandwich and this one is his favorite.

You need some sliced tomato, sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced fresh basil, a little olive oil (he likes Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Olive Oil), a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Oh…and some good crusty bread.

Just layer the cheese, tomatoes, and basil on your bread (I use par-baked ciabatta rolls from La Brea that I bake in the oven for about 5 minutes to crisp up). Then drizzle with about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Top with salt and pepper.