08 July 2014

Foodie Tuesday | Tuna Pasta Salad

Let it be known that I am NOT a pasta salad kind of girl. I never have been: the very idea of noodles with salad dressing turns me right off. When I tried to eat it in the past, my throat literally closed up and said, Nope. Not going to happen. Spit it out, 'cuz it's not going down.

So when I met Daryn ages and ages ago, and he said to me, My mom makes this pasta salad with tuna and pickles and green peppers, and it's awesome. You should totally try it. I was like, Um, NO. Thank you. I'd rather eat dirt.

But I was young and totally in that stage where you do things even if you don't want to, to make the other person happy and to like you more and think you're cooler and better than any girl they've dated before you, so when he said, Seriously, try it, I was like, OK. And so I did, thinking that probably I was going to have to excuse myself immediately to deal with my throat-closing-over issues and wondering how I could keep him thinking I was cool even while I was totally failing the Mom's-Noodle-Salad-Test.

But you know what? The funniest thing happened. I LOVED IT. I ate a little bit, and then a little bit more, and then a little more after that... and then I asked for a whole bowl and ate the whole damn thing! And ASKED FOR SECONDS. Because as weird as it sounds and sort of looks, it TASTES amazing. I could literally eat this salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner (full disclosure: I have totally done this.)

Great on the beach, at a backyard barbecue or in a bowl on the couch, it's a chilled-out alternative to traditional pasta meals with all flavor-punch of a summer salad. Also, if you excuse that whole cup-of-mayonnaise thing, not terrible for you! So the next time you're looking for a filling and satisfying but not hot and heavy summertime dinner, look no further than Tuna Pasta Salad. Just chop, toss and enjoy!



TUNA PASTA SALAD
Preparation: 20 minutes + 1 hour | Cooking Time: 14-20 minutes | Serves: 6
     
Ingredients:
  • 500g whole wheat Rotini pasta
  • 3 cans light flaked tuna in water, drained
  • 1 cup dill pickles, small diced (6-12 pickles)
  • 1 cup green pepper, small diced
  • 1 cup old cheddar cheese, small diced
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 3 tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
        
Cooking Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions, until noodles are just al dente. Drain (but do not rinse); allow to cool for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and allow even cooling.
      
  2. Meanwhile, drain tuna and flake into a large mixing bowl or storage container (I use a container with a snap-on lid, to make mixing easier down the road).
      
  3. Dice green pepper, pickles and cheese. Add to tuna; stir to combine.
      
  4. When pasta is cool, add it to your tuna mixture. Toss to combine.
      
  5. To the pasta add pickle juice, mayonnaise, mustard and pepper. If you've used a mixing bowl, stir with a large spoon until the pasta is evenly coated with dressing. If you're using a sealable container, snap the lid on and shake like crazy until the dressing is evenly distributed.
      
  6. Taste-test for preference; add more mayo, pickle juice and/or mustard as desired. Chill for at least one hour prior to serving. Can be served cold-cold, or slightly cooler than room temperature. Either way is delicious!
  
If you want to make your salad even more pickle-y you can add 3 or 4 spoonful's of Bick's Dill Bits relish in addition to the chopped pickles. It gives it a little extra "oomph" in the tartness department, which I think is awesome. Otherwise, it's perfect just as it is!


NOTES | EASY, KID-FRIENDLY (depending on the kid)