Yummy Pasta Veggie Salad

Oh what a tease the springtime has been this year, friends. Bluebirds and sunshine and mud... spring! Then bitter cold and more snow and frozen mud. Spring?

Well, I can't control the weather, and I do trust the One who does. {smile} But I can begin to make a few of our favorite spring and summer foods more often, so at least it *tastes* like springtime at our place.

This pasta salad is one of our favorites, and it appears with regularity at our dinner table - especially this time of the year. I am happy to share the recipe with you!

:: yummy pasta veggie salad ::

Yummy Pasta Veggie Salad

Ingredients for salad:
16 oz Rotini pasta
16 oz frozen vegetable blend: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower
4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 oz can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained

Ingredients for dressing:
2/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
2 Tablespoons dry milk powder
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and carefully add the Rotini pasta and frozen vegetable blend to the boiling water. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is "al dente" and the vegetables are tender. This takes approximately 10 minutes for the brand of pasta I use, but it may vary a bit for other brands so do check the cooking directions.

Drain the cooked pasta and vegetables and rinse them well with cool water.

Place the cooked Rotini pasta and vegetables into a large bowl. Add the chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, drained mushrooms, and drained garbanzo beans. Mix gently but thoroughly. Set aside.

Next, make the dressing. Into a quart sized jar with a tight fitting lid, place all of the dressing ingredients listed above. Secure the lid on the jar and shake the covered jar until the ingredients are well combined and the dry milk powder has dissolved.

Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetable mixture in the large bowl and gently stir to thoroughly coat the mixture with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate the pasta veggie salad for several hours or overnight before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

I most often serve this simple pasta veggie salad as a side dish, it has been quite popular at potlucks and gatherings, and we always take it along when we go on a day trip to the mountains for a picnic. The salad can become a more substantial main dish by adding cooked and cubed chicken to it... and/or chunks of fresh mozzarella or another cheese. Yum!

I hope you like this recipe much as we do. Enjoy!

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