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Salads

Fregola Pasta Salad with Summer Flavors

This tasty salad is made with fregola pasta, or you can use orzo pasta if you like. Cook the pasta then drain it and let it cool. You can then combine it with chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, garlic, tomato, fresh herbs and parmesan. This makes a tasty lunch served with buttered ciabatta bread, or you might like to serve it as a side dish with veal, beef, fish, chicken, or another favorite. Make this fregola salad ahead if you like, and keep it refrigerated for several hours before serving.

Fregola, which is sometimes spelt fregula, is a type of pasta from Sardinia. It can be used in the place of pasta, or even rice in some dishes, or you can use another kind of pasta here if you prefer, such as orzo if you like the small grains, or macaroni, penne, or whatever else you have in the pantry. You can also change any of the other ingredients, such as switching the chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) for kidney beans or leaving them out, or using red bell pepper rather than tomatoes.

Serve the finished salad as a side dish with meat or fish, or enjoy it as a snack. You could even rustle up a big batch and take it to a potluck supper. There is something very salad about pasta salad recipes. There is never any left at the end of a meal because everyone just seems to love such a recipe! Make this and you can be sure it will all get eaten. This is a very light pasta salad, at least when compared to creamy ones, and the aromatic herbs and vegetables are just wonderful in it. Continue reading

Mandarin and Apple Chicken Pasta Salad

This tasty chicken pasta salad is healthy and appealing. The main ingredients are pasta, chicken and mandarin orange segments, and then we are also using carrot, cucumber, red onion, red apple, and toasted almonds. The dressing features ginger, orange, garlic, onion soup mix, and more, for a full-flavored taste. Make it ahead then chill it for the flavors to mingle. The salad is served on a bed of lettuce, and you can choose from iceberg, baby spinach, arugula, or simply some mixed baby leaves.

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken or turkey, or you could even use shrimp or tofu as your protein for a change of pace. If you do not have leftover meat, it is easy enough to chop and stir-fry some chicken in oil, or even poach it in slowly simmering water until done. The first way yields golden brown chicken, while the second gives you soft chicken, so it is just down to personal preference. The almonds, apple and onion add a distinctive crunch which balances out nicely with all the softer ingredients used in this recipe.

We used pasta shells but if you prefer twists, penne, wheels, macaroni, or another shape, any of those would work. This recipe would also work with egg noodles but that is getting away from the Italian-ness of the dish, so we usually use pasta here to keep it more authentic. This dish is Italian-influenced rather than traditional Italian, but it is still really good, and well worth making because the pasta, chicken and mandarin are beautiful together. Go ahead and make any tweaks you want though. Continue reading

Perfect Panzanella Bread Salad

Do you have some stale bread and tomatoes past their prime? Do not throw them out! Panzanella is a wonderful Italian salad designed for such ingredients, blending the bread and tomatoes with other tasty items to result in a spectacular salad. Bread might sound like an unusual item to add to a salad but actually it works really well. Not only are you using up the stale remnants of a loaf which would otherwise be thrown out, but you are making something truly tasty.

This tasty summer salad is easy enough for any beginner cook to master, and there is no ‘cooking’ as such involved anyway. You only have to prepare and combine the ingredients. Serve it with roast chicken or barbeque meat, and enjoy the lovely flavors and texture combination that panzanella offers. Each serving of this is less than 400 calories. The salad is vegetarian as it stands, but throw in some chopped anchovies or leftover cooked chicken if you want. Even a few shrimp could be incorporated into panzanella.

Once you have tasted this dish you will fall in love with the magnificent flavors. Also this dish was designed to use up leftover stale bread, it is a worthy meal in its own right, and the slightly dried-out bread is heavenly with the tomatoes, oil and vinegar dressing, and other ingredients in there. This recipe is easy to double or even triple if you want to feed a crowd, and although it is best served right away it can also be refrigerated for a few hours if you need to make it ahead. Continue reading

Healthy Vegetable Pasta Salad

This lovely salad is colorful and appealing, and it is so easy to put together. The pasta is cooked and allowed to cool, and then you can add blanched broccoli, tomato, olives, cheese, and more. The dressing is homemade too, and the flavors in that will go beautifully with the flavors in the salad itself. If you want to add some toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts, feel free, and you can also use half mozzarella and half blue cheese or feta if you like.

If you are wondering how to ensure your broccoli stays bright green, even after cooking it, the answer is you need to plunge it in boiling water for 2 minutes, then immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water. This is the secret behind setting the color and keeping it vivid green. This is a lovely trick you can use to keep your broccoli looking as delicious as possible.

You can serve this as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish. It is also nice with steak. If you want to serve the salad as your entrée, you can do that, and it will be perfectly satisfying. It also travels well so you might like to consider this for a potluck meal or as a picnic dish. Whether you make the recipe exactly as written or tweak some of the ingredients to suit what you have in the refrigerator or what your palate prefers, you can be sure of a lovely result. Continue reading

Dried Cod Salad with Leek and Almonds

This unusual salad is based on dried salted cod, which is cod that has been preserved by salting and drying. This ingredient is used around the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and has been produced in Newfoundland, Iceland, Norway, and the Faroe Islands for more than 500 years. It used to be dried outdoors using the sun and wind, but modern dried cod is dried indoors using electric heaters. It needs to be rehydrated and desalinated before use.

The fish is often served in casseroles with onions and potatoes, or used to make battered croquettes in Europe. In Basilicata, Italy, it is sometimes prepared with peppers. The following recipe combines the fish with leek, almonds and pickles, to make an unusual, piquant and rustic salad. You can feel free to change the ingredients if you want, adding any vegetables you like, such as potatoes or beets, adding some hard-boiled egg slices, or even swapping the almonds for walnuts, adding some shredded cheese, or trying different herbs.

This salad needs to be started a few days in advance, or at least that is when you need to begin preparing the fish, soaking it in water and changing the water a couple times a day. The fish can then be combined with the other ingredients the day before serving the salad, then leave it in the refrigerator overnight so all the flavors can blend nicely. If you are looking for a make-ahead dish, this one is worth considering because it is deliciously different, and the other ingredients showcase the salt cod flavor so well.

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Creamy Ham Pasta Salad with Tomato

A pasta salad is a versatile dish, and you can serve it as a side dish, as part of a buffet or cookout perhaps, or you can enjoy it on a bed of salad leaves for lunch. This recipe can be made with any kind of pasta shapes from penne to bowtie pasta to spiral pasta, or whatever you like, and you could even consider whole wheat pasta if you like the wholesome flavor and slightly chewier texture.

The following recipe blends the pasta with ham and tomato, red onion and celery for crunch, and a dressing made with extra-virgin olive oil, mustard, mayonnaise and sour cream. Fresh dill weed adds more color as well as a herbal flavor, and this salad can be as creamy as you want, or else you might like to swap some of the mayonnaise for yogurt dressing, or use reduced-fat sour cream and mayonnaise. A salad such as this one is more American-Italian than authentic. In Italy a salad is usually made with fresh vegetables and dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar.

Pasta is a lovely ingredient to use in salads though, especially when combined with a creamy dressing. You can put all kinds of things in a pasta salad too, from seafood to chicken, beef, sausage, or even veggies. The following recipe is quite a classic pasta salad recipe. You can make this up to a couple days ahead too if you like, just adding a little milk and giving it a stir before serving. Continue reading

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Christine Szalay-Kudra


Hi I'm Christine, and I am happy you are visiting. Food is a large part of our family's lives, and we love to try new dishes, especially Italian food which offers so much freshness and flavor, whether you are making a classic Italian dish like lasagna or pizza, or experimenting with new appetizers, entrées or desserts from Italy.


Even if you are brand new to this cuisine, you will be able to find all kinds of tempting recipes here. I have been collecting classic Italian recipes, all conveniently in one place, along with unusual recipes from Italy plus some dishes inspired by Italian cuisine.


When the weather is cold, a baked pasta dish or juicy pork or veal recipe might be ideal. During the summer months, an Italian salad might be your dish of choice. We have vegetarian recipes, Italian soups, and even tips on how to work with Italian ingredients for the best results, whether you are making lasagna, gnocchi or an Italian casserole

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Thanks for visiting.


Christine

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