Friday, 27 July 2012

Pasta Salad

So this is my 50th post. Wow. I can't believe I've made 50 posts already. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd probablyhave made more than 50.

I had an incredibly productive day today - I figured out what my plot was for an assignment in which we must develop a synopsis for a narrative-driven game, I went to the gym (2.5k on the treadmill, 5k on the bike, and 1k on the stairmaster machine thing), I went food shopping, I baked biscuits and brownies, I cleaned the entire house properly (and I mean properly; everything was dusted, wiped down, sprayed and rewiped), I washed clothes and towels, and now I am finding the energy to blog. And I made corned beef for dinner. I realise writing it down it doesn't sound like much, but it took me all day and I am exhausted. My legs are dying from the gym work, my back from bending over and meticulously checking the floor while vaccuming, and I know I need sleep tonight so I can get up early and watch the Olympics opening ceremony tomorrow. I feel like such a housewife. At 18.

So this will just be a super quick post. Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments on my last blog post - I will let my Aunt know that you all loved her cake. It was as delicious as beautiful, I assure you.

Side note: I just got a delivery. At 5:30 on a Friday. But I'm not complaining - it's Matt Smith's two Doctor Who seasons, to complete my collection. How nerdy.

And so today's post is something simple, healthy and incredibly easy. This pasta salad can be served cold or hot, though given the current cold weather I prefer hot, and takes barely any time to cook. It is incredibly healthy, as it is pretty much just vegetables (and lots of them) and whole meal pasta. And the vegetables I used can be substituted for any that you like or have on hand - eggplant for example.

Is anyone really surprised that my 50th post involves pasta? I'm not. I'm pretty sure everyone who has lived with me isn't surprised either.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Average Cost: $
Main Ingredients: wholemeal pasta and your choice of veggies.
Menu Options: As I said above, you can change the veggies I used for any of your favourites or whatever you have on hand. However I recommend trying it with my veggies, just to see the favour balance. Don’t be scared off by the ingredient list – this was pretty much way of discovering which of the veggies in my fridge I could use in a cohesive pasta salad. This makes a fantastic side for a summer barbeque, served cold, with some meats and bread. It also makes a delicious dinner in its entirety.

Serves 4 - if you are having this for dinner, this recipe is for four large pasta bowls. If you are serving this as a side, as pasta salad usually is, it would serve a little more. Maybe 6, I honestly don't know, as I haven't tried it out.

What you need:
-          500 g wholemeal pasta
-          ½ - 1 large brown onion
-          2 garlic cloves
-          ½ cup water
-          1 zucchini, diced finely
-          1 cup mushrooms, sliced finely
-          Salt for flavouring
-          3 baby carrots, heads and ends chopped off, diced finely
-          2 tbsp olive oil
-          1 tsp dried chilli
-          2 tsp dried rosemary
-          12-15 cherry tomatoes, halved (amount depends on your taste)
-          1 cup chopped spinach
-          ½ avocado, diced
-          1 tsp dried basil
-          1 tsp dried oregano
-          1 tbsp olive oil
-          2 tsp lemon juice

What to do:

Cook the pasta as per packet directions. Or, do as I do, and cook the pasta in salted, boiling water for 20 – 30 minutes. Be aware this makes the pasta rather soft, so if you prefer a slightly tougher pasta for pasta salad, cook for less time.

Add the onion and crushed garlic cloves to a frypan over medium heat. One trick is, if you don’t want to use oil, cook your veggies in a frypan with onion and water. Therefore, add the water to the frypan. The pan will make a frying sound, and there will be a lot of steam.

Acting quickly, add the zucchini, mushrooms and carrots. Salt the vegetables accordingly and cook over medium heat for five minutes.

When the water begins to evaporate, add the oil to the frypan. This will be used to cook the remaining vegetables.

Add the chilli and rosemary to the vegetables and continue to cook for 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to soften slightly.

Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for approximately five minutes. Most of the vegetables should be relatively soft, and the tomatoes should be starting to soften. Add the spinach and stir the vegetables until well combined.

Take off heat almost immediately after adding the spinach. You want to wilt the spinach but not really cook it. Make sure the vegetables are well combined.

Drain the pasta water from the pasta. Add the vegetables, chopped avocado, basil, oregano, oil and lemon juice to the saucepan with the pasta in. Stir together until well combined. The pasta should be evenly coated with the vegetables and oil. Add more oil and lemon juice if you want to ensure the pasta is coated or you believe the flavour is not yet right. Serve hot or cold.

Note that most of the vegetables in this dish are cooked, but barely. This is how I prefer them – a slight crunch to the carrots, the sweet tomato juices still flowing, etc. However if you prefer your vegetables a little more cooked, then feel free to alter the cooking times.


  1. wow I thought you have been blogging for a lot longer. Nice job on hitting 50!

    1. Thanks! :) I can't believe I'm only at 50 haha :)

  2. Way to go on 50 posts! Pasta is a great way to celebrate!

  3. You domestic goddess you! I feel so much better when the house is perfectly tidy! Sounds like you killed it in the gym too :)

    xo Emilie @ Hungry Delights

    1. Haha I certainly hope I did :) And I'm so neurotic like that - the house has to be clean. I blame my Mum for this haha