Creamy Pasta Salad

Whenever Anita and I go antiquing we like to pack a light lunch for the trip. Taking our lunch instead of eating out means that way we maximize our antiquing time. But just because lunch is hauled in a cooler doesn’t mean that it’s going to be boring. I made a few fantastic Italian cold-cut wraps and this absolutely delicious creamy pasta salad for our last trip. We both could’ve eaten the salad all afternoon long, but that would’ve meant little time for looking for antiques! Perfectly creamy, with a little crunch from the onion, peas and pickles. Oh, and cheese.
Creamy Pasta SaladFor a great twist on this creamy pasta salad substitute chopped green or black olives for the diced pickles. Another great change is to use smoked cheddar cheese instead of extra sharp cheddar.

This salad is even better (I wouldn’t have thought it could be any better!) the next day.

Creamy Pasta Salad

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 7 ounce block of extra sharp cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickles diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion diced
  • 1 4 ounce jar pimentos, drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta per package instructions. Drain well, transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to cool.
  • Add the peas, cheese, pickles, onion and pimento and fold to combine.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, cream, mustard and sugar. Fold into the pasta mixture.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Buffalo Cowboy Caviar

Anita can attest to my (somewhat) shocking addiction to all things Buffalo wings, so she wasn’t surprised when I served up this Buffalo Cowboy caviar. What was surprising, though, was just how much we both absolutely loved it. Beans, peas, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, all good things. But the crunch of the corn and the smoothness of the avocado, along with spicy Buffalo wing sauce pushed this side up a few notches on the ‘love it’ scale.
Buffalo Cowboy CaviarFor a twist, use corn-on-the-cob that has been roasted on a grill or under the broiler until lightly charred. Cut the kernels from the ears and add to the caviar. You’ll need 3-4 good sized ears to make Buffalo Cowboy caviar.

Also try my Cowboy caviar and my Georgia caviar recipes.

Buffalo Cowboy Caviar

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can black eyed peas, drained, rinsed
  • 1 11 ounce can corn, drained
  • 4 Roma tomatoes seeded, diced
  • 2 large avocados diced
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup green onions diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 2 jalapenos seeded, diced

For the marinade

Instructions

  • Place all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl.
  • Whisk together the marinade ingredients and add to the salad. Toss to coat.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Pickled Black-Eyed Peas

I need a t-shirt that says “Don’t get between me and my pickled black-eyed peas”. I found them to be so dangerously good that I didn’t want to share with anyone. Ever. The peas absorb the vinegar, getting a really nice tart kick to them. For a little heat, jalapenos (they do get tamed down a bit the longer they pickle). Crispy red onions and a little garlic round out what is a perfect side dish.
Pickled Black-Eyed Peas

These pickled black-eyed peas remind me of the Georgia caviar I made a while back. Black-eyed peas are wonderful in a cold salad and even better when pickled. Don’t let the jalapenos worry you if you aren’t into spicy foods. You can of course leave them out but I found that they do not overpower the salad at all. You don’t have to eat them, but leave them in to add flavor.

If you prefer your black-eyed peas cooked, try my slow cooker recipe.

Pickled Black-Eyed Peas

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 15 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 15 ounce cans black-eyed peas, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 medium red onion sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeño cut into rings
  • 1/2 cup or more olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Combine the beans, onion, garlic and jalapeno in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the oil and vinegar.
  • Add the oil mixture ot the peas and stir to combine.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Note: If you find the peas to be too dry, now is the same to add a bit more oil.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.