Loaded Coleslaw aka Pasta Veggie Coleslaw

Loaded Coleslaw aka Pasta Veggie Coleslaw -- A Pinch of Joy

Loaded Coleslaw aka Pasta Veggie Coleslaw -- A Pinch of Joy

I like to make a big salad in the summer that will last for several less-work, cool eating meals.  Three fourths cup is a standard serving size and Pasta Veggie Coleslaw makes 16 servings.  Make it once and serve it three or four times is less work in my book!  We generally have a salad as a main dish once or twice – usually two servings each — and as a side a time or two more.   Big salads are great contributions to a potluck, too.

We love coleslaw and pasta is a big favorite so mixing the two was a no brainer!  Ring pasta is great with this salad.  Small so it doesn’t overtake the salad visually or taste-ally.  Yeah, totally made that up, but I bet you know what I mean!  I can’t always find that in the stores so I use small shells if I have them on hand, but also have used the small farfalle and small rotini as well. While the pasta is cooking chop the other vegetables.  You can also chop your own cabbage if you want.  You’ll need about 4 cups of finely sliced or shredded cabbage.  Add a shredded or thinly sliced carrot, just for color.  Our garden space is limited and so is the luck from the cabbage fairy.  She seems to not understand the difference between grow-good dust and cabbage worms.  So  I use the prepackaged from the grocery – fast and easy and the color from carrot and purple cabbage already in it.   14 ounces or 16 ounces – package varies according to brand but both work just fine.   The water chestnut adds an interesting crunch – don’t leave it out.

Loaded Coleslaw -- aka Pasta Veggie Coleslaw -- A Pinch of Joy

Loaded Coleslaw aka Pasta Veggie Coleslaw
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Two salad favorites - pasta and coleslaw - plus their veggie friends. Can't get any better than that!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 16 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups small pasta (I used small shells)
  • 1 14 ounce package coleslaw mix
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium cucumber, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 8 ounce can whole water chestnuts, drained and chopped
Dressing
  • 1 ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in SALTED water according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water, let cool slightly.
  2. While pasta is cooking, place coleslaw mix in large bowl. Chop remaining vegetables and place in the bowl with coleslaw mix.
  3. In small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together.
  4. Add cooled pasta to large bowl with coleslaw mix and stir lightly.
  5. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.
  6. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight before serving.

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Fruit Salad with lemonade dressing

Fruit Salad with lemonade dressing -- A Pinch of Joy

Fruit Salad with lemonade dressing -- A Pinch of Joy

Fruit Salad with lemonade dressing makes a huge salad.  It will serve 25 people easily.  More, if the eaters include children with smaller appetities.   Add it to the menu at your next big gathering.   It can be a buffet dinner or casual potluck, and this dish will shine!

Fruit Salad can be made ahead with the fruit refrigerated in separate zip bags.  I took it to a recent family reunion a couple of hours away  in a cooler filled with ice.  I was a little concerned that the fruit would be squashed with the weight of the other fruits AND the ice, especially since the cooler would set overnight before the actual dinner.  No problem.  I assembled the salad quickly at the site, added the dressing and it was on the table quickly!   It would work even better at home in the refrigerator for a next day party.

The balance between the vanilla pudding (sugar free for us) and the lemonade is great Neither flavor dominates the dressing. The lemonade concentrate keeps the fruit looking its best.  I did add extra lemon juice to the peaches and the nectarines before bagging them.  And cut the apple and banana just before assembling so they would not turn brown. Don’t peel the apple.  I used a Red Delicious Apple this time because that was what I had on hand.  Any eating apple will work well – including Granny Smith with its beautiful green peel.    (Pretty – but too tart for me!)

Prep time is about an hour.  A sous chef would be great help for this big dish.  I peeled the melons using a method I saw in a cruise ship kitchen.  Cut each melon in half lengthwise and dispose of the seeds.  Place a half melon cut side down on the cutting board.  Using a long sharp knife, slice the rind off the melon along the sides around the entire melon.  Flip the melon half on one side and cut off the remaining rind where your hand had been resting.  Trim any bits of rind left with a smaller knife.  To cube, place the half melon with the seed cavity down on the cutting mat and , using the same long sharp knife, carefully cut through the “dome” about halfway down.  Firmly grasping both pieces of the dome,  cut lengthwise of the melon until fully sliced.  Then cut across the slices to form bite size cubes.  This really is a faster method than any other I’ve used.

Just about any fruit will work in this salad and if you are missing one or two, that’s okay.  Substitute another fruit.  Add more of one of the other fruits.  Or not.   The fruit listed below are all firm fruits that will stand up to gentle mixing and servings being spooned out.

Fruit Salad with lemonade dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Deliciously full of healthy, colorful fruit, perfectly enhanced with a light lemony dressing.
Author:
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 25 servings
Ingredients
  • One medium honeydew melon; peeled, seeded and cubed
  • One medium cantaloupe; peeled seeded and cubed
  • 2 cups seedless watermelon cubed
  • 2 peaches, in small bite-size pieces
  • 2 nectarines, in small bite-size piece
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 1 cup halved fresh strawberries
  • 1 can (11 ounces) Mandarin oranges drained
  • two medium kiwi; peeled, halved and sliced
  • 2 medium bananas, sliced
  • 1 apple, in bite size slices
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 (12 ounce can) pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 package instant sugar-free vanilla pudding
Instructions
  1. Prepare fruit as above and place in a very large bowl. Do not stir together yet.
  2. Mix lemonade concentrate and vanilla pudding in small bowl or pitcher. Pour over the fruit and gently fold everything together.
  3. Chill for at least two hours before serving.

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Beef and Pear Salad with honey mustard dressing

Pear and Steak Salad with honey mustard dressing -- A Pinch of Joy

Pear and Steak Salad with honey mustard dressing -- A Pinch of Joy

Sometimes we look at a recipe, like Pear and Beef Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, and think “I can’t use that.  It serves four and I am cooking for two.”  Or  “This is too spicy for my family”.  Or even, “this combination is weird!” – which usually actually means “ I’ve not had this before”.  Don’t turn the page or click away too soon however!  You’ll miss some good eatin’, if you do!   Instead think of ways you can make it fit your situation and tastebuds.

I cook for three people, two with pretty big appetites.  To make this fit my family, I use only half of some of the salad ingredients, but I leave the amount of meat and the dressing the same.  One third of a bag of baby greens each is just about right for our appetites.  Dried cranberries are high carb so we only need a few for color.  The cheese provides additional protein so I usually use the full amount and the same with the walnuts, which are also healthy.  I don’t eat a lot of meat at any one time, so by the time I take my palm sized piece (about 4 ounces), the guys have about a pound of steak to divide between them.  That makes them really happy. (Although I can and do buy smaller steaks, too.)    I am wimpy when it comes to tart or spicy flavors so I usually opt for no dressing or a light raspberry vinagerette or even a creamy yogurt dressing.  The guys LOVE this mustard dressing drizzled across the meat and over the salad.  Everybody gets a balanced meal with flavors they like and will leave the table full and happy.  It can pay to be adventurous and flexible!

And as for combinations that seem weird – I couldn’t quite imagine hearty beef with delicate spring greens and pears.  It really helps to watch the temperature of the meat as it grills so it does not overcook and become tough.   The tender beef  plays off the greens and pears in a perfect combination!  Makes a great summer meal by itself.  Add a crusty roll, if you like. Adapt the recipe,  if you need. Go ahead, make this.   Betcha like it!

Original recipe from Dinner is Solved at HyVee.

Beef and Pear Salad with honey mustard dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
The tender beef plays off the delicate greens and pears in a perfect combination with a zip of mustard!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pound sirloin steak
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 5 ounce bags baby salad greens
  • 2 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
Honey Mustard Dressing
  • ½ cup prepared honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle pepper over sirloin and grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning after five minutes until medium done. OR use a countertop grill. Medium doneness is achieved at 160 degrees.
  2. In small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Divide salad greens among 4 serving plates. Top with pears, nuts, cranberries and cheese.
  4. When steak is done, let it rest a couple of minutes before slicing across the grain in thin slices.
  5. Drizzle with dressing.

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