Easy Pasta and Pear Salad

Living in a household where half of the one-and-a-half would have noodles with tomato sauce every day if he had his way means that I have to deal with a lot of leftover pasta. Thankfully, unlike rice and potatoes, you don’t need to re-heat or cook pasta to make it palatable.

I have always had good results using Nigella Lawson’s Mortadella Pasta Salad, but I didn’t have any Mortadella. Scrounging up stuff in the kitchen, I was able to whip up something just as good based on Nigella’s recipe, using leftovers and the Italian parsley growing on my balcony.

For a single serving, use 150 g cold, leftover fusilli pasta.

The dressing: 2 Tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil for salads, 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt or Maddon salt (if using sea salt or table salt, add more. I agree now that sea salt just isn’t as salty),  1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (I confess, however, that I always have Gaumenfreude’s wild garlic infused mustard in stock. I swear by their stuff. Buy local!), a spritz of lemon.

To fill your pasta,  cut a slice of ham into squares, half a pear, diced into chunks, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese flakes (easily done with a potato peeler), 1/2 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley, either the curly or flat Italian variety, and pepper to taste.

Mix the ingredients of the dressing in a bowl, and scramble it with a fork. Add the noodles and all of the ingredients, then toss. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper according to your liking.

It is the perfect light lunch. The saltiness of the salad is balanced well by the sweetness of the pear, and rounded by the olive oil. Great for potluck parties. Guten Appetit!

Taboule Salad

Taboule salad is a great dish to bring to potluck parties. It can be served cold, it can be given to vegans. It is not gluten-free however, so be warned!

According to Wikipedia, Taboule is a Lebanese salad that is pretty popular in the Middle East, Armenia, and Haiti. This is a very popular Arabian dish, quick and easy to make, done in 30 minutes. There are hundreds of recipes for Taboule on the internet, and they are variations of the same ingredients.

When I make Taboule I use:

250 g Couscous, soaked in 200 ml salted water and 1 tablespoon extra vigin olive oil

5 chopped big tomatoes or 8 halved cherry tomatoes

Half a cucumber or zucchino, unpeeled.

1 and 1/2 tablespoon each of parsley, mint and coriander. Leave out the coriander to be sprinkled extra on the salad, since many people don’t like it. This baffles me because I love coriander. Mint is also optional, since I only have fresh mint leaves in the summer.

Juice of 1/2 of a lemon

1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped

1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped.

Approx. 6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and pepper

In a salad bowl, season the couscous and pour the salted water in with the 1 tablespoon of    oil. Let it stand to absorb the water.

In the meantime, cube the tomatoes and the cucumber, and finely chop the onions and herbs. When you’re done, the couscous should have absorbed the water. Add in the herbs, tossing the couscous and adding seasonings after putting each ingredient in the bowl. Add the rest of the olive oil and the lemon juice, and continue mixing until it is well incorporated.

This is enough couscous to serve 8 people. If this is a side dish, 12. You can jazz it up by adding cubed feta cheese or olives. Enjoy!