The focus for this year’s Food Revolution Day was about sharing the power of cooking, the benefits of cooking from scratch and, ultimately showing people that changing our food choices can make us both healthier and happier. Instead of one official recipe as there has been in years past, this year, we have a set of 10 recipes chosen by Jamie Oliver that he deems the “Starter Pack of Cooking”. Each recipe covers a different skill and technique that can give anyone the confidence to cook good, real, healthy meals for themselves and their families, for now and the future. Jamie has spoken about the idea of ten recipes to save your life since his TED talk in 2010. Each month from now until December, I’ll be sharing my own twist on Jamie’s recipes which will be showcased along with nine other Ambassador’s ideas over on JamieOliver.Com. You can see previous posts here.
Argh – it’s back to school for many of us here in Canada today! That means back to reality, back to planning lunchboxes and dinners in advance to avoid the 6 o’ clock (am or pm!) scramble. For me, that means lots of batch cooking – soups and stews, pasta sauces and chilis – things that I can cook in advance which will taste better anyway after a couple of days in the fridge. Right now, though, it’s one of those weird back-to-school seasons where the weather can’t quite make up its mind if it’s still summer or if we’re definitely heading into the autumn and it’s just a tad too hot for batch cooking dishes like that.
I’m still all about salads and outdoor grilling as much as I can while the weather holds out so for this month’s Food Revolution Recipe Twist, where we were tasked with tweaking Jamie’s minestrone soup, I immediately wondered how I could translate this to a warmer-weather dish. The answer is pretty simple – make a pasta salad! I mean it’s got all the ingredients you need for a fresh but filling salad – just add dressing! It’s also an easy dish to cook a big batch of – perfect for lunchboxes or quick dinners through the week! And best of all, a giant salad doesn’t require very much of any ingredient since there are so many of them – it’s one of those “there’s nothing to eat in the pantry/ fridge” meals that comes together easily and uses up bits and pieces of veggies in your fridge.
Minestrone-style pasta salad
Pasta salad made with minestrone ingredients!
For the salad
- 200g (2 cups) dry pasta (shells, tubes, macaroni etc..)
- 200g new potatoes
- 2 large carrots (approx. 200g)
- 150g green beans
- 300g cherry tomatoes
- 2 large sticks (approx. 200g) celery
- 1 small (approx. 150g) red onion
- 1 can (400mls) cannellini beans
- handful fresh basil (around 1/2 cup loosely packed) plus more for garnish
For the vinaigrette
- 125mls (1/2 cup) olive oil
- 60mls (1/4 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- pinch salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Make the salad:
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and cool. You might like to drizzle a little olive oil on the pasta as it cools so it doesn't stick together.
- Cut the potatoes into approx 1cm cubes. Cook in boiling water for around 3 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and cool.
- Chop the carrots, green beans and celery into approx. 1cm pieces.
- Quarter the cherry tomatoes.
- Finely dice the red onion.
- Finely slice the basil.
- Drain and rinse the cannellini beans.
- Toss all ingredients together in a very large bowl.
- Make the dressing:
- Shake the oil and lemon juice in a jar until well combined.
- Add a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper and taste. If it's a little too tart, add a couple tablespoons more oil and shake again.
- Dress the salad as you eat it.
What about you – what do you make when your body craves comfort food but the weather is too warm?