This pasta salad is so easy it's embarrassing, but it's what my little girl craves! Wynne has enjoyed lots of different pasta salads I've made throughout my vegan life, and strangely she thinks of all of them as the same, despite varying ingredients. I guess this is because I always find the rejected goodies: olives, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, spinach, arugula, etc. in the bottom of the bowl, so the parts she actually eats do happen to be the same. The common denominators in Wynne's salads are chick peas, sun dried tomatoes and a dressing made from Veganaise and balsamic vinegar.
So, when Wynne was under the weather yesterday I let her stay home, bundled her up and made her favorite meal. Here's the recipe:
Wynne's Favorite Pasta Salad
1 1/2 boxes of multi grain pasta
1 packet of julienned sun dried tomatoes (dry)
1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
4 Tbsp. Veganaise
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cool water and drain. Toss in the packetful of tomatoes and the chick peas, then whisk together the Veganaise and vinegar and incorporate into the pasta salad, mixing well. Finally, season to taste and mix again.
I believe the trick to this dressing is to use very good balsamic vinegar. A cheaper vinegar might impart a sharp note which would clash with the tomatoes. An aged vinegar is rich, sweet and mild, without that tannic tang which would turn off a tender palate. I liked using the shell-shaped pasta this time. The chick peas tend to find their way inside the shells and the effect is kind of like a chick pea ravioli in texture. This pasta salad was an enormous quantity, but it was by design. Wynne's a bit like me -- if she enjoys a meal, she finds herself craving it again for the next few meals. Also, I always find my husband wanting to eat whatever I make for the kids, though not usually what I make for myself. My food is normally way-vegan and the kids' is just vegan in the guise of omni. Anyway, with the large amount, I knew I would be covered for the next several meals, no matter to whom it appealed. It worked. Wynne ate the salad for lunch yesterday, Wynne, her Dad and I ate it for dinner last night, and she finished it off at lunch today. It may seem this meal is a bit lacking in veggie content, but you'll have to remember it's a huge step up from store bought mac and cheese a couple of times a day, which is the way my kids used to eat.
An update on my shaggy messes conundrum -- I got a response from my wonderful friend, Sherri, who wisely stated that some of her best days were the result of no plan (paraphrasing here). Thanks Sherri! I took a deep breath at this and realized that there was no need to make decisions. I can just clean up my summer garden and let it lie fallow for a season while I plant a couple of things in some pots out of Buster's reach. Future planting decisions will be based on what happens during the fallow season. As for the mop on my head, I trust my hairdresser and think it will be fun to let her do whatever the heck she wants with it. Artists always love free rein. Besides, it's just hair. I did get a good night's sleep and everything makes much more sense today!