Food

Creamy Balsamic Pasta Salad with Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil

While we still try to eat healthy foods most of the time, we have let many non-paleo foods slip back into our diets. I have to say that for the most part, we are way more conscious about what we eat. I try to shop at Trader Joe’s for most things because I know what I am getting…good food with no artificial crap. The kids don’t seem to mind. They eat what I buy. I have found myself slipping a bit and buying them more junk food, because let’s face it, sometimes it is just easier to throw a cereal bar in for a snack than to make something from scratch! I read blogs from mothers who make everything from scratch, home school their kids, and still have a perfectly tidy house, and I wonder how they do it. It makes me angry…mostly with myself for not having that kind of energy or conviction. I go to bed every night to wake up early and make everyone a big home-cooked breakfast, packing homemade lunches and snacks…but then my alarm clock sounds and I can’t hit snooze fast enough. Well, there’s always tomorrow.

So we have had a really busy few months. My sister recently got married on the beautiful island of Kiawah, in what can only be described as a fairytale wedding. I overheard several people call it the wedding of the century. She is not a celebrity in the general sense of the word but both she and her husband seem to be living legends in their circle of friends and even beyond. It is quite impressive and as the older sister with a husband and two kids, I admit, I enjoy living vicariously through my sister and her friends. So anyway, my sister was married on Mother’s Day weekend and we weren’t home to celebrate with my mother-in-law. Needless to say, we had to make that up to her. We finally found a day that worked for everyone. It seemed appropriate to cook burgers and hot dogs. My mother-in-law loves corn on the cob so that was easy but I needed something else to fill in the menu. At the last minute, I decided to make a pasta salad. I’ve never had much success with pasta salads and a quick web search left me unsatisfied. So I decided to concoct my own. I had bow tie pasta, fresh cherry tomatoes, and basil from the farmer’s market, along with mozzarella balls called bocconcini on hand. I cooked the 1 lb. bag of pasta according to the package directions. While it was cooking, I mixed about a cup of mayonnaise with about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar. Once the pasta was finished cooking, I drained it and rinsed it with cool water to stop the cooking process. While the pasta was still slightly warm, I poured on the mayo and vinegar and mixed well. I added 2-3 tablespoons of finely diced red onion. I then cut the cherry tomatoes and the mozzarella in half and gently mixed into the pasta. I chiffonaded (not sure that’s even a word) the basil, or cut it into little ribbons, and added to the pasta with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. It was fabulous and even better the next day! I hope you enjoy as much as we all did!

This is an easy pasta salad that is full of flavor. Great for BBQs or even easy weeknight dinners. This recipe makes a ton and it is even better the next day!

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

1 lb. pasta
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons of finely diced red onion
1½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes cut into halves
1½ cups mozzarella cut into bite-size pieces
6-8 basil leaves rolled and cut into a chiffonade
Salt
Pepper

Instructions

Boil pasta as per package directions
Drain pasta and rinse quickly under cool water
Place pasta in a large mixing bowl
In a separate bowl, mix mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar together
Pour dressing over pasta and stir gently until pasta is well coated
Mix in tomatoes, mozzarella, and red onions
Add salt and pepper to taste
Gently fold in basil

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