Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Creamy Ranch Cucumber Pasta Salad

While I was growing up in South America, I spent many summers at my grandparents’ house in South Carolina. They had a huge field of vegetables growing behind their house. (I don’t call it a vegetable garden, because to me, at that time, it seemed as large as a farm). The great thing was that we ate fresh, right-out-of-the-ground vegetables every day. Although I remember many of the dishes my grandma used to cook, this cucumber pasta salad was the only one I ever asked her to show me how to make. I truly regret that now. My grandparents passed away several years ago, but one of these days I’ll ask my aunt and my dad to share some of her other recipes with me. Its a refreshing, cold pasta salad for those hot summer days.

2 cups diced cucumbers (keep a few large pieces)
1/2 cup diced onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 diced bell peppers (green, yellow, or red)
1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise
1/2 cup cucumber ranch dressing
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lime
1 large clove garlic, smashed
6 oz large shell pasta
6 oz rotini pasta

In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, ranch dressing, lime juice and the spices until everything is well combined, then set in the fridge while you chop vegetables. Add vegetables to the bowl, stir thoroughly and put back in the fridge.
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. When the water starts to boil, add pasta, cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or follow the directions in the pasta package, then strain under cold water until it has cooled completely. Set aside to drain, then add to the vegetables and dressing. Toss well.
Store in an airtight container for a few hours before serving.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and/or basil

Prepared on 2011-05-17 (Tulsa, OK), Photograph by Michael Findley


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