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Popular pasta salads make perfect summer refreshers


Pasta is increasingly showing up in salads, according to the National Pasta Association.

Cold Spicy Noodles

1 pound dried or fresh egg noodles

2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) or peanut butter

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

2 teaspoons chili oil

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon chili bean sauce

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions

Cook noodles in large pot of boiling water according to package directions. When al dente, drain and plunge into cold water until ready to use. Drain, then toss with one tablespoon of the sesame oil to make sure none of the noodles stick together.

In a bowl or blender, mix the remaining one tablespoon sesame oil with the tahini, chili powder, garlic, chili oil, soy sauces, chili bean sauce, ginger, salt and sugar. (This can be done in advance and kept refrigerated until ready to use.

To serve, arrange the noodles on a platter or in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle on the scallions. Toss well. Serves four.

Broccoli Pasta Salad

1 pound medium pasta shells, whole-wheat or white

1/4 cup vegetable oil

6 cups broccoli florets with peeled and sliced stems

2 cups sliced mushrooms (8 ounces)

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley

2 cups chopped scallions or 1-2 cups chopped red onion

1/4 to 1/2 cup white vinegar

1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup toasted, unsalted cashews

Cook the pasta al dente, rinse with cold water, drain, toss with a little of the oil and set aside. Saute the broccoli in remaining oil for about 10 minutes or until it starts to become tender. Stir frequently. Add the mushrooms and saute for five minutes more. Stir in the parsley and scallions or onions and saute for another minute. The broccoli should be bright green, yet easily pierced with a fork.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mayonnaise and mustard. Stir in the sauteed vegetables and the pasta. Just before serving, stir in the cashews. Serve cold or at room temperature. A popular dish for potlucks or summer luncheons. Serves six to eight.

Mexican-Style Bow Ties

1/2 pound (2 cups) dried pasta bow ties (or spirals, wheels, medium shells, elbow macaroni)

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans or 1 (15 1/2 -ounce) can kidney beans,


1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 (8-ounce) cans whole-kernel corn, drained

1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1/2 cup bottled red salsa

1 cup broken tortilla chips

Cook bow ties according to package directions, drain, cover with cold water and set aside. In medium skillet, brown ground beef. Add beans, salt and cumin; heat through and drain. Drain cooled bow ties and place in large bowl. Combine with meat mixture, tomatoes, corn, green pepper, cheese and onions. In small bowl combine yogurt and salsa. Add to salad mixture; toss to coat. Cover and chill thoroughly. Before serving, garnish with tortilla chips. Serves six to eight.

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