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I am not a huge fan of pasta salads – usually too much mayo (settle down, turning tummy) and the noodles are often overcooked. Plus, for some unfathomable reason, black olives seem to be everyone else’s favorite addition. Even the smallest amount of these sneaky blighters is too much for me – it messes up the flavors of everything else. If you like ’em, be my guest, but none on mine, please and thank you. Oh yeah, and most people go heavy on the pasta, light on the veggies. Wrong ratio, in my humble opinion.

That said, I will get a hankering for pasta salad occasionally, especially when I am reminded how economical and easy they can be to make. In addition, they keep well for a couple days, so you can enjoy a quick, light bite on the run. I like to make it with small pasta, like mini spirals or mini bow ties. Half a box is usually plenty, making it about $0.75 worth of pasta for several servings of salad. Yay!

Salad

½ box mini spirals (I got the Barilla with added fiber)
1T Extra virgin coconut oil
Salt & garlic powder, to taste
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
A couple stalks of celery, sliced or diced
1 large carrot, shredded
¼ red onion, diced
2-3T mayo (barely enough to lightly coat noodles)

Dressing

¼ c extra virgin olive oil
1T apple cider vinegar
1T Jack Daniels “dirty” mustard
Juice of half a lemon
Italian / Pizza Seasoning (I found this in a grinder)

Cook the noodles al dente, drain, return to pot and add coconut oil. Mix thoroughly then add salt and garlic powder to taste. (At this point, try not to munch all the pasta immediately – it’s SO GOOD just plain like this.) Mix in diced veggies then add mayo and stir well. In a separate bowl, mix all dressing ingredients together and stir to blend well. Don’t bother too much with tasting this – it’s very sour from the lemon juice; just trust that it’s really stinkin’ good, especially once chilled. Pour over noodles and veggies and stir well. Serve immediately if you like it warm-ish or refrigerate overnight – Delicious either way!

P.S. Along with black olives, as a general rule, I am no fan of mustard. This “whiskey mustard” (as I’ve nicknamed it) is a rule breaker and makes a really nice addition to this dish. Up soon, a recipe for baked beans with this same mustard!

P.P.S. What? There are garbanzo beans in the picture, you say? Oh yeah… Well, I added them for protein / fiber but I didn’t really care for them after all. Add them if you’d like – about 1/2 a cup should do.

What’s a dish you normally don’t like but have found a way to personalize so that you can enjoy it on occasion?

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