Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

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Prepared Mediterranean Pasta Salad served in a clear bowl on a wooden tray.

Go ahead and skip the mayo with this Mediterranean Pasta Salad that is bright and briny with a wonderful array of ingredients. The zesty dressing made with Dijon and fresh herbs is a burst of flavour that takes this salad to the next level. Olives and pancetta add a nice texture and brininess to the pasta, while the spinach, cherry tomatoes and red onion keep it light and fresh. Mediterranean Pasta Salad is great for picnics, potlucks, backyard BBQ parties and your July long weekend. This salad holds up wonderfully the day it is made so there’s no fear of a soggy salad. The pasta and pancetta can be cooked up to two days ahead so tossing this salad together at the last minute is a cinch. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Mediterranean Pasta Salad arranged on a wodden tray.

This recipe was one of the first posted to my blog back in 2016 and I forgot how delicious it is. I felt it deserved a little revival just in time to enjoy for summer.

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces gemelli or fusilli pasta
  • 4 ounces pancetta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil see note
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano see note
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley see note
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced and roughly chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until pasta is cool. Drain well and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet cook pancetta over medium heat until crispy and fat has been rendered, about 5-7 minutes. Drain well on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Toss together pasta, pancetta, spinach, cherry tomatoes, black olives, red onion, parmesan cheese and dressing until combined. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Notes

-fresh herbs are lovely in this recipe, however, if you need to use dry herbs use 1/3 of the amount stated for fresh.
-this salad is best served the day it is made but leftovers will keep for 2 days covered in the refrigerator.

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Japanese Cabbage Salad

Japanese Cabbage Salad

Japanese Cabbage Salad

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Japanese Cabbage Salad served in a square wooden bowl and garnished with sliced green onions.
Shredded cabbage, green onions, ramen noodles and almonds on a wooden cutting board being prepaired for Japanese Cabbage Salad.

Spring has sprung, and it’s time to start thinking about grilling, fresh berries and salads. Japanese Cabbage Salad is fresh, light and a little bit crunchy for the perfect picnic, side or lunch salad. The change of season brings about fresh and light recipe ideas for blogging but also a welcome change for everyday living. It’s the opportunity to jog outdoors, enjoy long walks and drive to and from work in daylight. These are important things in my world. What’s got you excited for spring?

Japanese Cabbage Salad served in a square wooden bowl and garnished with sliced green onions.

What I enjoy most about this salad is the almonds, they give a great crunchy texture to every bite. Using the chicken seasoning package from the noodles in the dressing is also genius. It provides a wonderful savoury and salty addition to the mound of cabbage. Japanese Cabbage Salad is great for picnics or potlucks because it holds up very well and there is no mayonnaise to cause concern if left to sit for a while. Have it as a meal by adding grilled or rotisserie chicken, it’s a great lunch.

The recipe suggests letting the salad rest for 30-60 minutes to meld the flavours, but truthfully, I enjoy it just as much the next day after the cabbage has absorbed more of the dressing. It’s rather embarrassing how much of this salad I can eat in one sitting, stopping only because my gut aches from eating so much raw cabbage. I’m not sure that salads are usually what people can’t stop eating but this one hits all the right notes for me. Enjoy

Japanese Cabbage Salad served in a square wooden bowl and garnished with sliced green onions.
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Japanese Cabbage Salad

Prep Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pkg chicken ramen noodle seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 5 cups finely shredded cabbage, lightly packed about 1 pound
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 3 each green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg instant chicken ramen noodles

Instructions

  • Whisk together the first six ingredients and set aside.
  • In a large bowl toss together shredded cabbage, almonds and green onion. Add dressing and toss to coat evenly. Break apart ramen noodles into small pieces with your hands and toss with salad. Cover salad and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to meld flavours and soften the noodles slightly. The salad can be made up to 2 hours in advance, tossing lightly just before serving.

Notes

-Slivered almonds are preferred as they offer the best crunch and size.  To toast the almonds preheat the oven to 350°F.  Arrange almonds in a single layer in a pie plate or other shallow baking tray.  Toast for 8-10 minutes until just starting to turn golden. 
-Easily make this salad into lunch by topping with cooked chicken.

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Leftover Turkey  Dinner Strata

Leftover Turkey Dinner Strata

Leftover Turkey Dinner Strata

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A piece of baked Leftover Turkey Dinner Strata served with gravy and cranberry sauce.

It’s time to re-think your turkey dinner leftovers and pass over the usual soup and pasta recipes for this spectacular Leftover Turkey Dinner Strata. It doesn’t just gobble up your leftover turkey, but also dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce. It’s quick and easy to put together because everything is already cooked. So a little chopping and assembly are all you need to do. Like most Stratas, this one can be made up to a day ahead and baked at your convenience the next day. It makes a great brunch, lunch or dinner dish, and it makes a 9×13 pan to feed your hungry family and guests. This Strata gets a huge thumbs up for practicality and tastiness.

Bread, turkey and dressing tossing together in a large bowl in preparation for Leftover Turkey Dinner Strata.
Leftover Turkey Dinner Strata assembled and ready to bake in a white casserole dish.

Chunks of bread, cubed turkey, and herby dressing get speckled with cranberry sauce and soaked in an eggy bath for a great twist on leftovers. I like to serve it with leftover gravy and additional cranberry sauce on the side. It’s a great casserole to feed a crowd and rewarms nicely in the microwave the next day, however, it is recommended to eat within two days of baking. So go ahead and cook that big ol’ bird and cook up a litre of cranberry sauce because this yummy Strata has your back and won’t let your money or efforts go to waste.

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Leftover Turkey Dinner Strata

Course Main Course
Keyword bread, casserole, Christmas leftovers, dairy, eggs, leftover turkey, leftovers, make ahead, poultry casserole, poultry recipe, strata, turkey, turkey casserole
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 12 ounces crustless white country style/sourdough bread, cubed
  • 3 cups leftover dressing/stuffing, crumbled
  • 3 cups leftover turkey, large dice
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated, divided about 2 cups lightly packed
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1 cup leftover cranberry sauce

Instructions

  • Add oil to a medium skillet and heat to medium. Add diced onion and cook, stirring often until soft 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl toss together bread, dressing, turkey, cooked onions and half of the Gruyere cheese.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together milk, egg, and seasonings.
  • Lightly grease a 9"x13" casserole dish. Spread evenly with half of the bread mixture. Dot with half of the cranberry sauce. Repeat with remaining bread mixture and cranberry.
  • Pour egg mixture evenly over bread, whisking occasionally as you go to distribute seasoning. Sprinkle with remaining Gruyere cheese.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and bake uncovered on middle rack for about an hour until Strata is puffed and golden. Remove from oven and allow to rest uncovered for 15-20 minutes before cutting into 12 pieces (3x4). Serve with leftover gravy and additional cranberry sauce.

Notes

-The Strata will last for up to 2 days in the fridge and rewarms nicely on medium power in the microwave.
-The dressing I used would be considered a traditional dressing.
-Want to make this recipe but don't have quite enough leftovers?  Half the recipe and bake in an 8x8 casserole dish.

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Wasabi Slaw

Wasabi Slaw

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A small metal tub filled with Wasabi Slaw is resting on a checkered white and green kitchen towel.

 

What’s your favourite summer slaw? I’m partial to a classic creamy coleslaw, so I immediately fell in love with Wasabi Slaw. It has all the creaminess of a mayonnaise-based dressing and the crunch of cool, crisp cabbage but it is set apart by the addition of wasabi. The earthy heat melds with the creamy dressing and gives just the right amount of punch. My perfect punchy heat may be different than yours, so add a little wasabi or add a lot.

For a crisp coleslaw, mix the dressing in advance but don’t add it to the cabbage until ready to serve. Keeping all ingredients cold before and after mixing will also help maintain a wonderful crunch. Enjoy!

 

Fresh cabbage, green onion, wasabi and grated carrots are being prepped for Wasabi Slaw.
A small metal tub filled with Wasabi Slaw is resting on a checkered white and green kitchen towel.

A small metal tub filled with Wasabi Slaw is resting on a checkered white and green kitchen towel.
Wasabi Slaw
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    6 cups 30 minutes
    Passive Time
    10 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    6 cups 30 minutes
    Passive Time
    10 minutes
    A small metal tub filled with Wasabi Slaw is resting on a checkered white and green kitchen towel.
    Wasabi Slaw
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      6 cups 30 minutes
      Passive Time
      10 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      6 cups 30 minutes
      Passive Time
      10 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: cups
      Instructions
      1. In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, wasabi, vinegar, salt and pepper. Allow the dressing to sit refrigerated for at least 10 minutes or until ready to use to allow sugar to completely dissolve.
      2. In a large bowl toss together cabbage, carrots and green onion.
      3. Stir in dressing and serve immediately for a crisp coleslaw. .
      Recipe Notes

      The coleslaw with soften as it sits so it is best served immediately after adding dressing. It can be made a couple of hours ahead and tossed before serving if needed.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Catalina Dressing

      Catalina Dressing

      It will soon be summer with salads of crisp greens and bitter radicchio.  What better way to dress your salad than with homemade Catalina Dressing.  I’d say it’s a bit of a forgotten dressing, one that’s been in the shadows of more trendy dressings made with avocado and tofu.  Kinda like it doesn’t get to hang out with the cool dressings, but there’s no reason for the snub.  Catalina Dressing is sweet and zingy, and just what your greens are screaming for.

      It’s not new and maybe even a bit old fashion, but I thinks it’s more that everyone has forgotten how good it really is and all the other great uses it has.  Dressing is dressing you might think, but how about mixing it with mayonnaise for a great burger and sandwich spread. 

      Next, you’ll want to add a generous splash of sriracha to that spread and serve as a dip for sweet potato fries or potato wedges.  

      Oh, and did I mention Catalina Dressing makes fantastic chicken wings, yes you read that right, CHICKEN WINGS.  Coming soon to the blog, I promise!  So never, never underestimate this humble salad dressing, it’s anything but boring. 

      Recipe for Catalina Dressing adapted slightly from: Epicurious

       

      Catalina Dressing
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        1 cup 10 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        1 cup 10 minutes
        Catalina Dressing
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          1 cup 10 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          1 cup 10 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: cup
          Instructions
          1. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour to meld flavours. Move to fridge if not using shortly after. Will keep for 1 week refrigerated.
          Recipe Notes

          Yields:  1 generous cup