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Monday, 7 May 2018

#ewew cooks Pasta Salad with Tri-Coloured Conchiglie

I always try to incorporate salads into my diet when eating at home as it's one of the easier meals to prepare (that's why I don't usually order salads when I'm eating out) whilst keeping your kitchen oil-free with the least amount of cleaning up to do.

But, as much as I like to eat salads (for health reasons), eating fresh leaves can sometimes be challenging to digest in large amounts.  I'm sure many share the same sentiment.  As someone would say...she doesn't want to feel like she's 'grazing like a goat....mehhhhhh'! ;D

So, I took inspiration from the many salads made by a blog I stalk follow and combined aspects of it to come up with my version of Pasta Salad with Tri-Coloured Conchiglie.

Ingredients:

5 chicken fillets
2 strips of bacon (flavoured with smoked paprika)
8 fresh button mushrooms
8 cherry tomatoes (I used 4 red & 4 yellow ones)
1 small head of broccoli
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1/2 a Japanese cucumber
1/2 cup pasta
And what....no vinaigrette? ;)

Preparation:

Season the chicken fillets with salt, freshly cracked black pepper and smoked paprika.

Deseed and slice the red and yellow bell peppers into strips.  Slice the button mushrooms thickly.  Cut the broccoli into small florets, slice into rounds half a Japanese cucumber and cut the cherry tomatoes into halves.

I saw these tri-coloured conchiglie (or seashell-shaped) pasta, made with durum wheat semolina with egg, tomato and spinach extract (yellow, red and green pasta), on the shelves of Mercato and thought they looked really colourful and cute.  You can use other types of pasta like elbow macaroni, fusilli (spiral-shaped), orecchiette (ear-shaped), farfalle (bow ties) or penne.

Method:

Pan-fry the seasoned chicken fillets in some olive oil until well browned.

Sauteed the button mushrooms (the portion shown here is only half) and season with salt and black pepper.

Boil the pasta according to packet instructions (10 - 12 minutes) in salted boiling water.  Drain well (as the shells tend to hold water within them).

Season the broccoli and bell peppers with olive oil, salt and black pepper and bake at 200°C for 30 minutes (both trays went in the same time).  The broccoli might need a slightly shorter time, so take them out first once they're charred nicely.  To be honest, I've never liked broccoli.  If I find them in a stir-fry vegetable dish with cauliflower, I'd always eat that the cauliflower instead of the broccoli.  But since being shown how good roasted broccoli can be, I'm a fan and makes it regularly now.

After that, it's just a matter of tossing everything together.  Here, I used only half of the cooked ingredients and kept the other half for my salad next day.

Here's my Pasta Salad with Tri-Coloured Conchiglie :)

The best thing was, when I tasted the salad ingredients together, there was enough flavour and it didn't even need any salad dressing...and that's because I seasoned every layer of the ingredients during cooking (other than the cucumber and tomatoes).  I also made full use of the olive oil left from frying the chicken fillets and juices released from the mushrooms as a dressing for my salad.  You can make a light vinaigrette if you want (but I didn't need it).

The key to a good salad is to choose a range of vegetables with different textures, flavours and colours.  You get the crunchy texture from the cucumbers, the smoky, charred flavour from the broccoli, the sweetness from the bell peppers, the juiciness from the cherry tomatoes (and peppers), the earthy flavour and juicy texture of the mushrooms and a slight heat from the peppers and paprika (in the bacon). ^.^  And you've got the proteins in there as well from the chicken and some 'naughty' bacon (just one slice only what!).

The different colours of green, red, yellow and brown from the vegetables, mushrooms and tri-coloured pasta makes the salad beautifully presented and visually appealing to eat.

The addition of a carb (the conchiglie) made this salad more filling than just fresh greens and I was able to fend of feelings of hunger for quite a while.  It stores really well too and convenient to reheat in my oven toaster without compromising the vegetables and meat.  I only left out the mushrooms and pasta, so when I had it again the next day, all I needed to do was to cook these two items and add on the cucumber and tomatoes.

This salad is great for a main meal (portions made are enough for two filling meals).  Add on a sunny side-up egg (with runny yolk, of course) to make it even more decadent and filling.

I have to say this is the best salad I've put together so far solely because of the choice and combination of ingredients with each component giving a different texture and flavour to the salad. ^o^  This is my favourite (cooked) salad todate (and I can see myself making this regularly from now on)...and, best of all, I don't have to 'graze like a cow'! :P

Serves two (as a main meal) or 4 - 5 (as a side of vegetables to your main dish)

12 comments:

  1. Your creative & colouful salad is certainly very delicious when I saw chicken, bacons and topped with a fried egg smiling on top! All your ingredients and healthy pasta are so well balanced & Sedaplicious!

    I love to eat very crunchy vegetables like broccoli, bitter gourds and cauliflower but not too leafy ones like potato leaves or kangkung as my inner teeth & jaw are somewhat misaligned which doesn't grind them too well and often caused me to choke in my poor throat.

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    1. Ooo...I've had that same terrible experience with kangkung a couple of times too. When the long stems get stuck in my throat..it couldn't go down and it couldn't go up...it was very unpleasant. Now I make sure I eat my kangkung slowly (haha!), strand by strand, or chew them well before swallowing.

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  2. i guess this is actually the perfect salad cos it's very sensibly balanced - you get some quality carbs and protein in it too, so you won't end up being a malnourished goat! i won't complain cos you have broccoli, one of my top five favourite vegetables :D

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    1. Oh, I didn't know you like broccoli that much. I've just began to like them recently...but only if they're roasted (not steamed ones)! >_<

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  3. Salad apa? Your veggies all gone into the oven one hahaha!

    Talking about oven, these days my oven more or less collecting dust. When I cook (if I do), I just chuck everything into boiling water, then drain it, and toss it with some soy sauce and/or lemon juice and/or Nando's peri2 sauce...

    Also... "eating fresh leaves can sometimes be challenging to digest in large amounts" <- for me, it is not so much a challenge of digesting but more of a challenge to swallow them in the first place >.<

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    1. Wah, it's a surprise to see you here...you've been missing from the blogosphere for quite a while (not leaving any comments, not posting blogs).

      Salad apa? Well, I did mention that this is my fav COOKED salad...haha! ;D I don't think I can handle eating steamed or boiled veggies regularly like you. Roasted...is quite another story :)

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  4. Your salad looks really good! Glad to know that you enjoy roasted broccoli too. And what a revelation to me that no dressing is required for this salad. I suppose the oil and drippings with the seasonings can be considered as a dressing which does not have vinegar in it. I ought to try this since I have some leftover bell peppers and I believe I have some bacon in the freezer hee..hee... I'll check Jaya Grocer for the tri-coloured conchiglie. They look very attractive in the salad. And that runny fried egg on top of the salad is a nice touch!

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    1. Well, thanks to you...I now enjoy roasted broccoli. I'm not sure if you'll like the salad without any dressing though since you like robust flavours :) You can give it a try and if you don't like it, you can always add on one of your dynamite dressings! ;)

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  5. Very appealing salad indeed with the vibrant colours from the ingredients chosen. I don't think I'll try pasta salad because I always skip carbo intake during dinner.

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    1. It's a certainly a good practice to skip carbo intake during dinner...you can always have a salad pasta for lunch? Hihihi! :D

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  6. You had me at pasta. I'm such a carbaholic.

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    1. Carboholic...that's a good way to describe it. Hehe, I think I'll borrow that description! ;)

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