I invented this recipe when I happened to have some ranch dressing and canned fried onions to use up. It quickly became a staple of my diet, and when Daniel and I began living together he immediately became enamored of it. (“This is great! What is it?” “Uhh…it’s just something I cook…I never needed a name for it in my brain….” “Well, think of a name so we can talk about it so we can make it all the time!”) We still eat it often, although I’ve also invented a more nutritious Improved Pasta Salad. Although this recipe contains suspicious processed ingredients, it is an easy way to get your vegetables, and it reheats well in a microwave. To make 3 main-dish servings, you will need:
- 1/2 lb. uncooked pasta
- 1/2 lb. frozen or fresh chopped vegetables (we recommend a combination of 2 or more different vegetables; good choices include broccoli, carrots, zucchini, peas, and green beans)
- ranch salad dressing
- canned French-fried onions
- 8 cups water
- large pot with lid
Bring water to a boil.
Add pasta. Depending on your choice of veggies, add them now or wait a few minutes. Frozen vegetables take longer to cook than fresh ones. Denser vegetables like broccoli and carrots take longer than softer ones like zucchini or peas.
Boil for at least 7 minutes. Fish out a piece of pasta and bite it to see if it’s done. If not, keep cooking until it is.
Drain off the water.
Divide food onto plates. Season each portion with salad dressing and fried onions.
Once you’ve gotten accustomed to enjoying this meal which is half vegetables, start increasing the ratio of vegetables to pasta.
For a healthier option, try Improved Pasta Salad.