Last weekend we grilled wild-caught Alaskan salmon on a cedar plank alongside some asparagus rubbed with olive oil. As scrumptious as it all was, we still had some leftover the next day for me to incorporate into another dinner. I decided to incorporate the leftovers into a pasta salad and make it all new again.
I boiled some fusilli pasta (we used Tinkyada rice pasta because our house is mostly wheat-free due to my son’s food sensitivities, but you can use any kind of pasta you prefer). When it was al dente tender, I drained and rinsed it with cold water in a colander.
Meanwhile, I had washed and chopped a bunch of fresh spinach that was waiting in a large bowl. Into the bowl, I also added the remainder of the cedar-planked salmon and grilled asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces. I dumped the still-warm pasta on top and covered it all with a pot lid so that the spinach would wilt a bit.
I shredded some fresh basil leaves from the plant in my garden and chopped up the last few mushrooms left from earlier in the week.
As a crowning ingredient, my daughter suggested we toss in about 1/2 cup of shelled pistacio nuts. Why not, I thought. We dumped the nuts in.
Now it was the moment of truth: what should we flavor our pasta salad with? I like to use a vinaigrette with a pasta salad, but should it be Italian, Pomegranate Chipolte, Roasted Red Pepper, or Shitake-Sesame? Annie’s Natural Shitake- & Sesame Vinaigrette, always a crowd pleaser, won the vote.
I poured it on and tossed it up. The spinach had wilted nicely from the heat of the pasta, and everything married together beautifully. The pistacio nuts turned out to be the surprise favorite – a nice touch of crunch to the salad!
My 7-year old son has decided of late that he doesn’t “like leftovers,” regardless of how eagerly he cleaned the plate of the same food a day or two before. Luckily, a pasta salad can be a great way to incorporate leftovers and not call them “leftovers” anymore! Here’s another fun pasta salad recipe to try!