Curried Pasta Salad an Exotic Take on Summer Favorite

By Romanoff, Jim | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Curried Pasta Salad an Exotic Take on Summer Favorite


Romanoff, Jim, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Pasta salad is a favorite at summer barbecues and potlucks because it is filling and inexpensive to make.

But with the addition of some protein and a few spices, it also can be transformed into an exotic supper entree that costs only about $1.25 per serving.

This recipe for curried pasta salad with tuna is reminiscent of a hearty Waldorf salad and takes advantage of many food items you already might have. It can feed a family of four with leftovers for a couple of lunches.

Inexpensive canned chunk-light tuna and bow-tie pasta form the heart of this Indian-spiced dish. If you already have other small shapes of pasta, such as shells or elbows, they will work just as well.

Likewise, canned salmon or chicken can stand in for the tuna if it's on sale that week or that's what you happen to have on hand.

The dressing is made with reduced-fat mayonnaise and sour cream. Consider using less-expensive store brands of both products, because they usually are of comparable quality to major brands.

The spices that flavor the dressing can be pricey, especially if you don't think you'd use them often.

The solution is in your grocer's natural foods department (or a natural foods store), which often has a bulk spice section that allows you to purchase just the amount needed and at a lower price because you are not paying for the packaging.

Fresh red grapes and celery add sweetness and crunch to the salad. Grapes tend to be at their best in flavor and value during the summer. When buying celery, skip the pre-packaged hearts, which can cost more than $3 per pound. A 2-pound loose bunch usually costs less than $2.

Finally, cashews add flavorful protein and contribute to the Indian feel of the dish.

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