A Trio of Pasta Salads

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Food Porn, Recipes

As much as I prefer to cook practically everything from scratch, let’s just put it out there that I’m a realist. I am not immune to the call of convenience products, even if I don’t prefer to eat them in their native state. I’m also not immune to the call of the checkout line, and end up buying way more cooking magazines than I care to admit. Usually I’m pretty good about staying away from ones that are blatantly product-centric, but this time around, I couldn’t resist. I was lured in by the promise of dozens of different pasta salads using Suddenly Salad as a base. Here are three of the ones that called to me most, made over the course of a week. The consensus? One was good, one was great, and one was just OK. Read on to see which was which…

I’m a sucker for the honey mustard + spinach combination, and this one was among one of the better versions of this salad. I’m not a huge fan of Suddenly Salad Classic, but this made it edible for me. I would eat this one again, but it’s not something I would make more than once or twice a season.

Honey Mustard Chicken Pasta Salad

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Salad
recipe courtesy Betty Crocker

1 box Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. honey mustard
2 c. cubed grilled chicken
2 c. washed fresh baby spinach leaves
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 stalk celery, chopped (1/3 cup)
1 c. shredded cheddar
3 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
3 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Empty pasta mix into 3-quart saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water. Shake to drain.

In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, mayonnaise and honey mustard. Add pasta, chicken, spinach, tomatoes, celery, cheese and eggs; toss gently to coat. Top with crumbled bacon. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate one hour to chill.

Per 1 1/2 cup serving: 500 calories, 30g fat (9g sat), 1210mg sodium, 30g carb (1 g fiber), 27g protein.

The second salad, the Fattoush Pasta Salad, was a bit too salty as specified in the recipe for me to recommend it as is – however, I’m convinced that if you cut the feta by half, it would be a lot better. My problem with this particular salad is that if you don’t eat it right away the croutons and the lettuce would get so soggy it would be disgusting. So my advice is to give this one a try only when you’re convinced that it will be eaten within an hour or two.

Fatoush Pasta Salad

Fattoush Pasta Salad
recipe modified from Betty Crocker

1 box Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. all purpose Greek seasoning
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped cucumber
1 c. coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese (recipe originally calls for 4 oz)
1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. thinly sliced zucchini, slices cut into quarters
1/3 c. thinly sliced radishes
1/3 c. chopped red oion
1/3 c. chopped fresh leaf parsley
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 c. garlic flavored croutons

Empty pasta mix into 3-quart saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well.

In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, oil, lemon juice and Greek seasoning. Add pasta and all remaining ingredients; toss gently. Cover and refrigerate one hour to chill.

Per 1 cup serving: 230 calories, 12g fat (3g sat), 790mg sodium, 25g carb (1 g fiber), 5 g protein.

The third salad is the one we absolutely love – so much so, in fact, that we’ve made it a couple of times already. This makes a great shortcut entree salad on a hot night where you don’t feel like cooking. Ultimately satisfying. We doubled up on the corn that the recipe called for.

Smoky BBQ Chicken Salad

Smoky BBQ Chicken Salad
recipe modified from Betty Crocker

1 box Suddenly Salad ranch and bacon pasta salad mix
1/2 c. frozen corn
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. barbecue sauce
2 c. shredded rotisserie chicken
1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 medium green onions, chopped (1/4 cup)

Empty pasta mix into 3-quart saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding corn during last 2 minutes of cooking.

Drain pasta and corn; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well.

In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. Stir in pasta, corn, chicken and tomatoes. Sprinkle with green onions to serve. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate 1 hour to chill.

Per 1 cup serving: 330 calories, 12g fat (2g sat), 680mg sodium, 36g carb (2g fiber), 19g protein.

Do you have any “souped up” recipes that use a convenience product as a base? I’d love to hear about your favorites…

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