Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

I was inspired to make this recipe about 3 years ago for a picnic with my then boyfriend (now husband). I wanted something light-weight, cold, refreshing, and filling so we only had to bring one dish along with us on our hike / picnic. I’ve been meaning to find a time to make this again and decided to make it for a weekend pot luck with friends šŸ™‚

INGREDIENTS

  • 16oz macaroni pasta
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 6 stalks celery
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Italian salad dressing
  • 2 teaspoons Olde ThompsonĀ Rustic Tuscan SeasoningĀ (or italian seasoning)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

PREPARATION

STEP 1: Boil 4 quarts water for the macaroni in a large stock pot. Boil 1 quart water in a separate smaller pot (the wider the better) for the asparagus.

STEP 2: While waiting for water to boil, thinly slice the celery and chop the two bell peppers.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 3: Add vegetables to medium bowl.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 4: Break asparagus at fresh-ness point. Hold both ends of a single stock of asparagus and bend until it breaks. Throw away the bottom piece and keep the top half of the stock.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 4: Add macaroni to boiling water. Wait until it returns to a boil and time for 6-8 minutes.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 5: Mix together the olive oil, salad dressing, and seasoning in small bowl.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 6: Drain macaroni and run with cool water so that the pasta doesn’t stick together.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 7: Add asparagus to small pot of boiling water. Blanch for 5 minutes. Drain and run with cold water to stop the cooking process. They should be perfectly cooked with a light crisp.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 8: Chop cooled asparagus and add to bowl of vegetables.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 9: Add dressing and mix well.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 10: Add vegetables with dressing to the macaroni in a large bowl. Stir together until the vegetables are evenly distributed.

Light Tuscan-Style Macaroni Salad

STEP 11: Cover bowl and let sit in the refrigerator overnight to let the macaroni absorb the flavors of the dressing and vegetables. Serve cold for best flavor.

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