I will admit to the occasional “cooking taboo”. We all love something or another that we’d be embarrassed to admit, no? Aside from baked bean sandwiches and cold green beans (out of the can, with lots of salt), I must admit to an undying love for a certain boxed quick-salad. I am talking, of course, about Suddenly Salad.
But not just any Suddenly Salad! I never buy them, I swear, except for the Bacon Ranch flavor. If you’ve never had it, you don’t know what you’re missing. I used to love to make it as a meal – add chopped veggies and some canned tuna, and you’ve got a great summer salad on your hands. However, I still felt the guilt of buying a boxed quick-make-thing, and those freeze-dried carrots/peas in the mixture were something I tried not to think about too hard.
Finally I admitted my addiction to a group of friends. One of them, Julie, recommended I try to make it from scratch – she had done so and it was much better. Genius! That way, too, I can control the salt and fat and have all fresh veggies… What I would do without my girlies, I can’t tell you.
Anyhoo – here is my “healthier” version of that beloved box of Suddenly Salad. I like it because I’ll use more sour cream if I want to be healthier, or the low-fat dressing mix. Plus this recipe makes tons, a lot more than the wimpy Suddenly Salad box, so there are leftovers galore for many days! Which is perfect, because now I can enjoy this salad guilt-free : )
Nemmie’s Cold Summer Salad
(A big thanks to Julie)
1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
1/4 c. of mayonnaise
1/4 c. sour cream
4-5 slices bacon, browned and broken into pieces
A handful of nuts or seeds (I like sunflower seeds), optional
1 lb. of pasta of choice (rotini, penne, bow ties, shells, whatever you like)
1 c. frozen peas
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
3-4 tomatoes, diced and drained on paper towels
1 cucumber, diced and drained on paper towels
2 cans tuna in water, drained and flaked
In a large bowl, mix the ranch dressing mix with mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in bacon pieces and nuts or seeds (if using). Set aside.
Boil pasta in water, as directed. When the pasta has 2-3 minutes left to cook, throw peas in pasta pot. When done cooking, drain and run pasta/peas under cold water, to stop the cooking and cool it off to be added to the salad.
Add pasta to ranch mixture. Stir in carrots, tomatoes, and cucumber and mix well. Finally, add tuna and mix gently. Put in the refrigerator to cool, at least 1 hour.