Honestly, I wanted to call this recipe, “Plynn’s Booke-Style Mexican Pasta Salad” but the title is just way too long to post. However, this salad is classic Booke – I used everything I had in my fridge and cupboards, and only what I had in my fridge and cupboards!
The sum of the ingredients on hand equaled what I would normally use to make a taco salad … only I didn’t have ground beef to cook up and season, so I used the lone habanero sausage left over from previous dishes I’ve posted; I didn’t have enough greens to make a full-on salad, so I found this funky-delicious corn/rice pasta in my cupboard that fit perfectly with a Mexican-themed dish; I had a few black olives in a jar, also an ingredient from previous recipes, but not quite enough for my taste so I threw in some green olives, which added great flavor to the mix.
The result – a really tasty, summer salad!
Mexican Pasta Salad
1 cup uncooked pasta *
1 habañero sausage, quartered and sliced **
1 can pinto beans, drained
⅓ cup sliced black olives
¼ cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
4 radishes, quartered and sliced
½ cup quartered and sliced cucumber
½ cup diced pepper (red or green)
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 small avocado, diced
⅓ cup diced red onion
¼ t cumin
Onion & garlic powders
Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Dash of chili powder
Juice of one lime
Dash of white vinegar
1 – 2 cups greens (romaine or kale work best)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup diced cotija cheese (or feta, shredded yellow, pepper jack or whatever you have)
Notes: * I used organic corn/rice spiral pasta, but feel free to use your favorite kind.
** I used Aidell’s chicken sausage, which is precooked, so is easy to quarter and slice. Seasoned ground beef, chorizo or any spicy sausage will work but if you use raw, remove casing and break into small pieces when you cook it.
Cook pasta in salted water, according to directions. While pasta cooks, sauté sausage and set aside to cool. Drain paste and set it aside to cool, as well.
In the meantime, combine beans, olives and diced vegetables in a large salad bowl. Add cumin and other seasonings (good shakes of onion, garlic and Jane’s); add a couple of rounds of oil, the lime juice and vinegar. Toss together and let sit for 5 minutes or so to marinate. Taste and add more seasonings if you choose.
Add cooled pasta and sausage, and toss. Add greens and cilantro, and toss again.
Plate and sprinkle with cotija cheese
If you really want to kick this salad up a notch, mix together a few good dashes of chipotle hot sauce with Ranch dressing and serve it, on the side, as a creamy condiment.
So! I challenge you to take a good look in your fridge and cupboards. See what creative combinations of ingredients you can muster to make your own unique Booke recipe.
Think of it this way – all those groceries are already in your pantry. The dollars you spent on them are part of last week’s (maybe last month’s!) budget, so if you use those groceries this week, you’re actually eating for free!
I’m not sure that totally makes sense … but I sure like the way it sounds!
Eat well. Be happy