There are times that I devote a whole day to cooking. It excites me, I think about it the entire day before. Sometimes, I even set aside money in the budget for the cooking extravaganza.
I turn on some music or a new episode, get out everything I need and cook my little butt off. I really love those moments. Cooking is like therapy to me. I can completely zone out when I’m in the kitchen. And the kitchen is where all of my creative juices start flowing. My best ideas come from being in the kitchen, turning inward and taking full advantage of my creative spirit.
Days like those are so great! But, every day isn’t like that.
Some days I need everything to be quick & easy. There are times when almost every part of my day has an obligation and cooking isn’t one of them. These days are great too, but if I’m not prepared with food to grab & go, it can be frustrating.
I love simple, quick & delicious meals. It’s seriously what I’m about. So when the idea to recreate my mom’s traditional Italian pasta salad came to me, I became a giddy little school girl.
This recipe takes under 20 minutes and is full of flavor. Plus, the add-in options of veggies are endless. Don’t like cucumber? Leave them out. Obsessed with bell peppers? Toss them in!
See how easy that is? I mean seriously, the longest part is waiting for the noodles to cook in the boiling water. It doesn’t get simpler than that, my friends.
Oh- and this whole sun-dried tomato chicken sausage thing? Girl. These are my new favorite.
My Trader Joe’s carries them and they’re a staple in my weekly grocery shopping trip. When cooking them, there seriously isn’t even a recipe because they already have everything in them that you need. Just toss them in a skillet with a little olive oil and keep turning them until each side is crispy (about 3-4 minutes per side). Slice those babies up and you’re done! If you don’t treat yourself in any other way this week, do so with these sausages. You’ll love them.
But, back to the pasta salad. I remember several Fourth of July holidays where my mom made a similar Italian pasta salad. The difference in mine? The noodles & the dressing.
The noodles are the new Banza chickpea pasta noodles. Due to my path to healing my gut from the inside out, I prefer to have as many gluten-free options on hand. The problem with GF options? A lot of them contain sugar which also isn’t good for gut health. But these noodles do the trick. It tastes like pasta (score!), it has protein & fiber (woo hoo!) and it doesn’t come with any extra ingredients I can’t pronounce (hallelujah!).
The dressing is the Tessemae Classic Italian dressing. You’re going to hear me talk a lot about Tessemae. I learned about this brand during my first Whole30 and have been a loyal customer ever since. Their ingredients are pure and no bullshit. Just the way I like it. Don’t just stop at the Italian dressing – I’m obsessed with their ranch, caesar & ketchup.
I’ve teased you enough, haven’t I? On with the recipe!