Pesto Spinach Salad
After a week of dinners that were of the grilled cheese and takeout variety I headed to the store determined to combat my dinner time woes. My goal was mostly something fresh, relatively healthy and most importantly, EASY. That really means, does not include turning on my oven. By the end of the day I find I'm not wanting a hot meal, just something fresh + crisp.
This salad is a family favorite and early on in my pregnancy the pesto would have really turned me off, but these days, it fits the bill. For a more hearty, filling version of this, don't hesitate to add grilled chicken. My favorite way to add chicken is to just use a rotisserie...as I type this, I'm a little sad that I didn't remember that while walking the grocery store aisles. Must have been the 3 kids in tow in combination with the pregnancy brain I've had.
One thing I didn't forget while at the store, was to buy extra ingredients to have on hand. While I often times bring the drinks to family gatherings, salads are also one of my staples. Since going to the store in the summer is as awful as turning on your oven (115 degrees here people) I thought I was pretty brilliant to stock up & then offer to bring it to my mom's 4th of July shin-dig. It's always a crowd favorite.
Pesto Spinach Salad
1 box pasta, cooked + drained -- I've used all shapes, but most oftentimes I use bowtie
Grape Tomatoes, sliced
Green Pesto -- I usually use the Classico brand
Once your pasta is cooked & drained, mix in about 1/4C - 1/2C of the pesto. I mix this in a bowl & depending on my mood add more or less. You just want the pesto to coat the pasta. This go-around, I added less as opposed to more, mostly because I still struggle a little with strong flavors this pregnancy. Coat the pasta & then cover it & place in the refrigerator to chill. I typically cook my pasta in the morning hours. While I'm at it, I mix up the ranch dressing, since that is best chilled too. And please, no bottled ranch! ew.
When dinner time rolls around, pull out your pasta + ranch and simply mix your salad. I tend to build mine by layers, then toss, keeping out some extra toppings to top the salad at the end. It looks best when you've got all the colors right on top, so don't forget to leave some of your toppings for that.
I think for this weekend, I'll have to grab a rotisserie chicken to add to it.
Let me know if you try it & love it as much as we do.
Hi, I'm Amy. When I'm not scouring the valley for the perfect new house, you can usually find me in the kitchen with a gaggle of kids. Chips, salsa and a Diet Coke are usually in hand.