Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Peas and Pasta Salad with Tuna

Classic peas and pasta salad, made with tiny shell pasta and dressed with homemade buttermilk Ranch, spicy mustard, dill, red onion, cubed cheese, bacon and gently tossed with tuna fillets.

Peas and Pasta Salad with Tuna

Okay y'all. I know everybody's in fall mode, sharing their favorite apple recipes, and pumpkin recipes won't be far behind - if they haven't started up already. Heck, we're only in the high 80s this week here in South Mississippi, so that's practically fall weather here, far as we are concerned. But... I'm gonna squeeze in at least one more "summer" recipe before the calendar tells me it's officially fall.

You can use whatever brand or kind of tuna you want with this recipe of course, or even no tuna at all, but I recently had the opportunity to try a few of the Gourmet Selects line of Starkist tuna fillets, and I thought they would be perfect for my peas and pasta salad.


Have you noticed over the years, that the standard tuna that everybody has been buying for years to make sandwiches and such with, has gotten more and more mushy? There's really nothing there to distinguish it as tuna anymore really, because it's all mush.

Well, look how beautiful this stuff is. If you haven't tried these yet, you should!


Besides the usual tuna in water and tuna in oil - extra virgin olive oil I might add - it comes as seasoned fillets as well, in a combination of EVOO and lemon dill or roasted garlic, all of them lending well to great recipe ideas. There are even low and very low sodium versions and they're widely available at Walmart and most local grocery markets. {hissy fit soapbox warning} Despite internet rumors, Starkist tuna is not farm raised in China, but is still wild caught, primarily from the Pacific Ocean and Western Atlantic fisheries, and while the parent company is now foreign, U.S. headquarters are still located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Please do your research before continuing to spread gossip! {done and done}

Since I'm adding my own dressing and seasonings, I'm using the basic light tuna in water version for this.


So funny that some people love peas and others hate them. Well, I'm a big fan of peas, so if you are too, this is a great pasta salad that's been around the block a few years. Truthfully, there's really not a lot of peas in this pasta salad anyway, for those of you who can either take them or leave them. I just love this and can eat on this dish for several days, and frankly, it's delicious with or without the tuna.

The full recipe, with measurements and a printable document, will be found past all of the step by step photos. Just scroll the page a bit to find that.

Here's how to make it.

Now, unlike say, a classic Tuna Macaroni Salad, this is what I'd consider to be a "pasta salad." Kissing cousins I suppose, but different from one another. I make my standard buttermilk Ranch dressing for this pasta salad, thinned with a little cider vinegar. It's always great if you have the time to make the dressing a day ahead, so all of the flavors can mingle and marry, but no worries if not. You'll still enjoy it. Whisk together salad ingredients adding enough vinegar to reach a thick, but pourable, consistency.


Cook up some bacon - drain and set aside till it cools, then chop it up. Don't you just love the aroma of bacon cooking? Love!


Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions; drain well, toss with the olive oil. This salad seems to call for the tiny shells if you ask me. Add the red onion. Or purple onion if that's what you prefer to call it. Blend in dressing.


Add Creole mustard, dill weed, Cajun seasoning, peas, cheese and bacon; gently toss.



Add Old Bay, lemon juice, and tuna gently toss, taste and add salt and pepper only as needed. You only want to give the salad a gentle toss to incorporate the tuna, but not break it up to much.


Serve immediately or refrigerate. Dig in!




Recipe: Peas and Pasta Salad with Tuna

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 8 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

For the Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • About 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of dried onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
For the Salad:
  • 1/2 pound of small shell pasta (about 2 cups dry)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of minced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • 1 cup of frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup of cubed sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning
  • Juice of one medium lemon
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can of tuna fillets, drained
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions

Whisk together salad ingredients adding only enough vinegar to reach a thick but pourable consistency. Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions; drain well, toss with olive oil. Add red onion and blend in dressing. Add mustard, dill weed, Cajun seasoning, peas, cheese and bacon; gently toss. Add Old Bay, lemon juice and gently fold in tuna; taste and add salt and pepper only as needed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Cook's Notes: Use any short cut pasta you like - trumpets, elbows, rotini, shells, even bowties will work. Make the salad dressing a day ahead if possible to allow the flavors to meld. May use regular milk instead of vinegar if you prefer and may also substitute 1-1/2 cups of your favorite commercial Ranch salad dressing. This makes a very good basic cold tuna noodle salad - simply omit the peas. May also omit tuna, Old Bay and lemon juice, for a basic pea and pasta salad, or substitute cooked shrimp, crab, ham or chicken if you prefer.

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on September 16, 2014
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6 comments:

  1. A delicious and classic salad. Catherine

    ReplyDelete
  2. Uh Yum & YUM!
    This sounds so much tastier than my recipe. I just use mayonnaise, bet the ranch dressing puts it over the top. And bacon, what's not to love.
    Here's a serving variation for you. Instead of mixing it with the pasta, cook jumbo shell pasta and stuff them. The amount of dressing will need to be tweaked, but they make great appetizers. I made them for an "Under the Sea" party.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very tasty salad. I love all the ingredients especially the bacon.:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, bacon, I mean seriously!! :) Thanks Tricia!

      Delete

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