Still have a little bit of leftover ham? Or perhaps you froze the leftovers to use another day? In any case, you might want to consider bookmarking this recipe: ham and pasta salad taken to a whole new level.
I’m sure you’ve all had that quintessential Easter leftover dish made of macaroni, ham, peas, and Ranch or mayo-based creamy dressing. It’s not bad, but… it does get a little old. Plus, it’s a no-go if you’re trying to stay away from dairy and eggs like me.
I tried in vain last night to find a ham and pasta salad recipe that did not feature the seemingly ubiquitous mayo or otherwise creamy salad dressing. Then I switched gears and tried to find a vinaigrette version. Fail. Then I looked through my own recipes that I’ve used for other types of pasta salads (chicken, tuna, etc.) and once again none of them seemed to be quite what I needed.
So I made up my own, which is always dangerous. Because ham and some pork products just seem to go so well with certain sweet fruits, and since I had some fruit readily available to me, I decided to go that route. I also serendipitously had a bottle of blackberry balsamic vinegar, which doesn’t happen every day, believe me.
Since I kind of made it on the fly, not really expecting it to be 100% successful, I don’t have a specific recipe for you. I’ll tell you what I used, though, and the measurements as much as I can so that you can recreate your own version with what you have at home.
If you’re ready for a different take on ham and pasta salad, here you go!
I started with half a box of Barilla Plus farfalle noodles, cooked according to package directions. While the noodles were cooking I chopped up some cold ham, probably about 1 cup of diced ham, which I placed in the bottom of a large bowl. To that I added half of a chopped mango. Later on, to my portion I added strawberries and kiwi, which my DH doesn’t eat. To add them to the salad in its entirety, I’d suggest about 1/2 cup chopped strawberries, and 1 chopped kiwi. Add more if you want! In a separate small bowl, I whisked together about 2 TBSP of blackberry balsamic vinegar with approximately 4 TBSP olive oil, plus some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You’ll probably want to use about 3 TBSP of flavored balsamic vinegar with 6 TBSP olive oil, and don’t be shy about the salt and pepper. The salt is needed to balance out all the sweetness of the fruit. Drain and rinse the noodles and add them to the large bowl. Stir everything together, then drizzle with the vinaigrette. Stir again until it is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.
You can do what you want with this recipe. Try different noodles, either different shapes, or different flavors (I made a rice-noodle version for my Certain Little Someone). Try different fruits, like peaches, nectarines, plums or apples. Grapes would be lovely, too! A plain balsamic vinegar should work well if you don’t have any flavored, but you may want to add just a touch of sugar.
This is a very QUICK weeknight recipe. In the summer, I love to whip up pasta salads for busy weeknight dinners. A big plus is that they make a lot of extra, so you can have leftovers or invite friends over.
Pasta salads are very EASY, too. Most people can boil a pot of noodles! And… it can be a one-bowl dinner too!
Another reason I serve pasta salads weekly is because they save money on meat. I use leftover or canned meat (mainly tuna) to save money in my grocery budget, which makes it a great CHEAP choice.
I happen to think this is a very HEALTHY version of pasta salad, because of the noodles made with fiber- and protein- rich ingredients, as well as all the fruits.
Find more inspiring and informative posts at Make Your Own Monday, Motivational Monday, Homestead Barn Hop, The Bulletin Board, Better Mom Monday, Natural Living Monday, Trivium Tuesday, Titus 2sday, Teach Me Tuesday, Hip Homeschool Hop, Titus 2 Tuesday, Delicious Dishes, Open Call Tuesday, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Works For Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, The Mommy Club, Encourage One Another, Thought Provoking Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Homemaking Link Up, Keep it Real Thursday, Frugal Thursday Rewind, Your Green Resource, Homeschooling on the Cheap, Thrifty Thursday, Fellowship Friday, Fight Back Friday, I'm Lovin' It, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Weekend Whatever, Snacktime Saturday