It’s hard being a meat eater from a meat eating family married to a seafood eating vegetarian. Especially when you visit your family who live in a teeny tiny town in the Midwest where the only “vegetarian” food you can find fills a small shelf in the freezer section of the only grocery store in town and is usually expired.
So whenever we go to visit, my mom always makes a huge bowl of macaroni salad for my husband. He eats it pretty much every day we’re there. It’s always been a staple side dish for us to make for parties or gatherings.
The problem with it, though, is it uses tuna fish and Jennifer and her Mom are deathly allergic to seafood and shellfish.
So we decided to make something new and exciting! But without mayonnaise. Jennifer didn’t want it “creamy” since it was going to be a hot day and that essentially ruled out every. single. idea. I had. I scoured the internet, made Google my new BFF but couldn’t find anything I thought sounded good (I’m very picky about my pasta salad). I had ideas…thoughts…but couldn’t find anything that matched up with what was in my head. Finally, it was a week before the wedding and I said “fuck it”. We went to the store to get the majority of the food and I did what I do best…I decided to wing it. This was one of the other recipes Jennifer didn’t agree with me on because of one simple ingredient, so we again compromised with me making two batches, one with and one without, with the promise she would try it with an open mind…
And once again she did…
And once again she begrudgingly liked it…
Stephanie 2 Jennifer 0
- 1 box, 16 oz, pasta (I used tri-color Rotini)
- 1 jar, 8 oz, Basil Pesto (I used Classico brand)
- 1 container, 4 oz, Basil & Tomato feta cheese (I used the store brand)
- Kalamata olives
- Artichoke hearts
- Roasted Red Pepper
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Lemon juice
- salt and pepper
Boil the pasta al dente, drain and rinse with cold water. Put aside.
Begin chopping the olives, artichokes, roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. Use as much or as little as you’d like. Personally, I like a lot. I want to have some in every bite.
Pour the pasta into a large bowl. Stir in one jar of basil pesto until it is well combined. Add a little EVOO as needed to keep the pasta “wet” so it will mix well.
Next, mix in the feta cheese, chopped olives, artichokes, roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes, and one or two handfuls of Parmesan cheese. Add in a few squirts of lemon juice and taste. Sprinkle in some pepper and salt if needed (it’s a pretty salty salad on its own and may not need any…it will really depend on the ingredients you use and the amounts). Add more lemon juice if needed.
Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Serve.