Balsamic Pasta Salad

I was in a lazy mood on Sunday. I was trying to use the day to play catch-up and knock a couple of items off my to-do list but I also was thoroughly enjoying the couch and rerun movies on TV. Then it came time to get my lunches ready for the week. I had no idea what I wanted to make, I just knew I wanted it to be easy.

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After a quick survey of the fridge and pantry I pulled out some stuff and got to work. I have been trying to “shop from home” before I buy more food from the grocery store. I’m trying to reduce our food costs and definitely trying to make sure we don’t waste food. In that respect, I decided to make a dish that was not only healthy, delicious, and easy – but also something that used up a good amount of food from the fridge.

The result is this colorful and tangy pasta salad – and I do mean salad! I prefer to focus more on veggies than pasta. Inspired by my favorite Veggie pasta salad, I made this one even easier thanks to the food processor….just shred the veggies, throw in the rest, dress it, and enjoy!

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Balsamic Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces (dry) brown rice pasta, cooked and chilled
  • 3 large carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 small head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, chopped
  • Diced peppers of choice (I used red and yellow sweet mini-peppers but regular bell pepper would be great)
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • Protein of choice: tofu, chicken, beans would all work***
  • Dressing: 3tbsp of olive oil, 3tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2tbsp stone ground mustard, and a shake of garlic powder whisked together.

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and toss to coat everything. Makes 3 large or 4 “normal” people servings (guess which one I am!)

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***I would suggest marinating the tofu in some extra balsamic dressing (probably about 1/3 of the recipe above) and either grill or sauté it. If you are in a time crunch/feeling lazy/wanting a veggie option you could thrown in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas or other white bean.

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Once it was complete I divided it into my lunch jars and was actually looking forward to this beautiful meal at work! Once again a grain/protein/veggie combo saved the day and hit the spot.

What is your favorite weekday make-ahead lunch?

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