Midwestern Potluck Spaghetti Salad

dsc_1149RECIPE #283, DAY #481

THREE STARS

ORIGINAL RECIPE: Kitchen memories of my mom whipping this up before many potlucks*

TIMING: 30 minutes, including boiling the pasta

DIFFICULTY: Easy

TOOLS: A pop to boil, some tongs, and a big serving bowl

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: Pasta is not at the top of healthy foods, but eating it sometimes isn’t a terrible idea, as long as you limit yourself. Processed foods are also not part of a healthy diet, and yet a few shortcuts now and then will not kill you. Especially when you just need something to whip up for a potluck. Something full of veggies and not involving any dairy.

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EXPERIENCE: My mom has always liked to make easy food. This Midwestern special came to her from somewhere in the 80s, and it reappeared many times for summer picnics and get-togethers. Meant as a side to go along with something from the grill, mostly, like burgers, hot dogs, or grilled chicken, it has no real protein of its own.

As far as my foodie self is concerned, it’s sort of cheating, but that’s okay when you need to a shortcut to an easy side, or–as was my case this time–you want to honor good ol, Midwestern, 198os, homemaker food. At a picnic.

NOTES: The quality of this salad is going to completely rely on your ability to choose good ingredients, especially the salt-free seasoning and the Italian dressing. I buy either 365 or Newman’s dressing and an quality, all-natural salt-free seasoning, like Bragg or even Mrs. Dash.

***

  1. In a pot of salted, boiling water, cook 12 ounce spaghetti according to package directions. Let drain with a few ice cubes scattered about.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, add as you chop 2 sliced stalks celery, 1/2 sliced red onion, 1 sliced colorful bell pepper, sliced 1 can olives, and 2 diced tomatoes. Add the drained noodles, as well as 1 bottle Italian dressing and 1/4 cup salt-free seasoning. Toss and taste for seasoning.

***

Serve with barbecue chicken or grilled sausages, potato salad, baked beans, and a cooler full of soda and beer.

*Recipe changed from the original.

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