Despite my love for outdoor dining, I shy away from the large-batch pasta salads that seem to always be part of the menu. I love the idea of a cold pasta salad, but they’re usually drenched in mayonnaise, and I just…can’t do mayonnaise. I don’t know if it’s because it includes raw eggs, or because of the strange jiggly consistency, or maybe a little bit of both (definitely a little bit of both…), but I avoid it at all costs.
I know many people dislike mayonnaise, but I’m particularly annoying about it. At work lunches I’ve been known to scrape off the inner-most layer of bread from my sandwich and remove any and all pieces of sandwich filling that have been in contact with the white stuff. This usually means that I end up eating bread crusts and a single cucumber for lunch. Worth it.
For my high school graduation party my poor mom had to call caterer after caterer in search of mayo AND meat-free pasta salad options. This reminds me that I probably owe her a 9-year-late apology. Whups.
Despite the fact that most pasta salads fall on the do-not-touch list because of mayonnaise (or “aioli” if we’re being fancy), I’m often tempted. I like carbs, I like creamy things, I like eating outside, and pasta salad usually involves all those things. Clearly the conclusion here is that I need to just make my own and stop whining.
sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, tomato paste, Greek yogurt and olive oil blend together to create a thick, creamy, mayo-free sauce that clings the whole wheat shells. The pasta and sauce would be great on their own, but I added some Great Northern beans for protein and texture, red cabbage and onion for some crunch and color, feta for a bit of tang, and some tomatoes to complement the sun-dried tomato dressing. Even if you like those mayo-based salads, you need to give this simple and healthy version a try.