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Fill that salad bowl

Cat Campbell/For The Madera Tribune

Try this pasta salad, loaded with all kinds of goodies. It has always been a big hit.


A lot of people love salads of all types. I like some, love some and just plain don’t like some others I have tried. I think most of us are like that, as we can’t be expected to appreciate every salad that comes along.

If I really like one, but have no way to get the recipe, I will pick and poke at it to try and figure out what’s in there so I can take a stab at duplicating it at home.

There is a pasta salad I had great success with; in fact, I liked my version better than the original because I added some red onion.

It is fun to make salads, because you can customize the ingredients to suit your own tastes. Here are a few recipes I hope you will enjoy.

Cat’s wacky pasta salad

1 package (12-oz.) Wacky Mix colored pasta shapes or tri-color spirals

2 small cans sliced ripe olives, drained (even better is to use 1 can chopped and 1 can sliced)

8 ounces roasted red bell peppers, diced (such as Mezzetta brand that comes in jars)

2 small jars (or 1 large) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (save marinade)

3 cups frozen corn kernels, cooked, drained and cooled

3/4 cup chopped red onion

1 dry packet Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing mix

Olive oil and cider or wine vinegar, for mixing the dressing

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, to taste (don’t overdo, as there will be additional seasonings in the dressing)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. (Make sure it doesn’t get overcooked, as this can happen very quickly if you get distracted.) Pour into a colander and cool under running water; drain thoroughly and set aside.

2. In a large serving or mixing bowl, combine olives, red peppers, artichokes, corn and red onion. Add pasta shapes and mix lightly; season with the Lawry’s salt and the pepper.

3. Prepare the salad dressing as directed on package (use some of the reserved artichoke marinade as a replacement for part or all of the olive oil the directions call for); pour desired amount (I found I needed the whole amount) over the pasta salad and mix well.

4. Chill several hours before serving, stirring the mixture once or twice during cooling

Avocado corn salad

1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

3 ears of corn, cooked and cut off the cob

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

1/2 red onion (medium), thinly sliced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice from 1 or 2 fresh limes

2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced

1 teaspoon sea salt or 3/4 teaspoon table salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1. In a large salad bowl, combine sliced tomatoes, corn kernels, sliced avocado, thinly sliced red onion, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and the pressed or minced garlic cloves.

2. Drizzle with olive oil, lime juice, then add salt and pepper. Toss just to combine and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Crunchy pea and cashew salad

I like to add a can of chopped water chestnuts to this.

8 slices bacon

1 package (10-oz.) frozen peas, thawed and drained well

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped green onions

2/3 cup sour cream

1 cup coarsely chopped cashews (I use roasted and salted ones)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a skillet, cook bacon until it is browned and crisp. Crumble and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine peas, celery, green onions and sour cream. Toss gently to mix.

3. Just before serving, add cashews and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.


I usually add a little more carrot to this recipe. People say it tastes like KFC coleslaw but I can’t verify that.

8 cups finely chopped cabbage (about 1 head) *See note

1/4 cup shredded carrot (1 medium carrot) *See note

2 tablespoons minced onion

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar (or cider vinegar)

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

*Note: Be sure cabbage and carrots are chopped up into very fine pieces, about the size of rice.

1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, milk, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar and lemon juice. Beat mixture until smooth.

2. Add the cabbage, carrots and onion and mix well.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.



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