This salad is the result of an impulse purchase I made at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago. It sounds so random, doesn’t it? And yet, I must confess that I have actually found shopping trips very inspiring, as of late. Gone are the days of me heading to the stores with lists on hand and neatly organized recipes on my mind. More often than not, I “squeeze” in shopping between professional and family commitments, I don’t make lists, and I forget to buy the basics (ooops!). On the plus side, not having preconceived ideas about what’s for lunch or dinner has made me more open to experiment with impulse buy ingredients – which brings me back to… squid ink pasta 😉
Preserving the natural beauty of this pasta was my priority, and the decision to use it in a salad came in naturally. I wanted to pair it with vibrant fresh ingredients such as cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas. Lastly, I wanted my salad to include one of the hottest ingredients of the moment: the oh-so-delicious Everything Bagel seasoning mix. Later on, upon doing some research, I discovered that ingredients and dishes featuring squid ink are also very popular, and their appeal may actually go beyond a passing fad for very interesting reasons.
Start off by “chasing” the beautiful squid ink pasta. As I said above, I found these farfalle at TJ Maxx, but you can also find similar pasta online in quite a few places (for instance here, here and here).
Cook the pasta al dente, as per the package instructions.
Gently sauté the tomatoes and sugar snap peas in vegetable or extra virgin olive oil.
Put the pasta and veggies in a large mixing bowl, and add any cheese of your liking. I used cubed Amish buttermilk cheese I got from a local Amish food store, but mild cheddar – or any other similarly creamy cheese – might work just as well. Add sun-dried tomatoes and Everything Bagel seasoning, and pour a simple vinaigrette on top. Mix until well combined. Taste and add salt and/or pepper, if at all necessary.
So easy to make, so vibrant, so delicious!
This salad is best served at room temperature, as an appetizer or a light meal. The salty notes of the squid ink pasta are beautifully complemented by the vibrant veggies and the herb-packed sun-dried tomatoes, while the mild cheese provides a luxurious touch of creaminess. Last but not least, Everything Bagel seasoning adds the necessary pops of garlicky flavor and crunchy texture to round up the dish and to step it up a notch.
This is salad done right – rustic and flavorful, exciting, seductive, and forever delicious 🙂
Squid ink pasta salad
- 5 cups squid ink pasta, freshly cooked as per instructions on the package
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups sugar snap peas
- 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into medium-size pieces
- 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (or any other mild cheese), cubed
- 1/4 cup vegetable or extra virgin olive oil (for sautéing)
- 1/3 cup vegetable or extra virgin olive oil (for the dressing)
- 1 tbsp + 1 1/4 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp Everything but the Bagel seasoning
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Sauté the peas and cherry tomatoes in oil in a saucepan over medium heat for a couple of minutes or until slightly soft but still whole. Take from pan and allow to cool down on a plate.
- In a small bowl, make a simple vinaigrette by mixing oil, white wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Place pasta and sautéed veggies in a large mixing bowl. Add cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and Everything but the Bagel seasoning. Pour vinaigrette on top, and mix until well combined. Taste and add salt and/or pepper, if necessary. Chill the salad in the fridge until serving time.
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