Pasta Salad de Maison
Whole wheat pasta, romaine and spinach, crispy bacon, cherry tomatoes, swiss cheese, almonds and a garlic-y lemon vinaigrette is a take on one of my favorite childhood salads: Salad de Maison. The pasta gives it substance and is perfect for summer!
I can blame my love of collecting cookbooks on my mom. She had quite the collection when I was growing up and she’s passed on her tradition of picking up a new cookbook whenever she visits a new city to me. Whenever she came home from a trip, I’d always look forward to browsing through her new find. I guess that’s where I fell in love with Junior League cookbooks. To this day, I always look for a Junior League cookbook when I’m visiting somewhere new. They’re often a collection of recipes gathered from local restaurants and tried and true favorites from their members. Family recipes are always the recipes that people ask for. They’re tried and true for a reason!
The original recipe for Salad de Maison is precisely one of those recipes. It’s from an old Salt Lake Junior League cookbook and I’ve yet to make where I didn’t have someone ask me for the recipe. I say the original recipe because, of course, this isn’t the original recipe. I updated it just a bit by adding spinach and cooked pasta and omitting the parmesan and croutons. I wanted something a little heartier yesterday as this was posing as a light dinner before we headed off for a night of baseball games.
This is the quintessential summer dinner. Heavy on the greens, just enough pasta to make you feel like you’re having a meal and full of greens and tomatoes that will soon be making their debut at the farmers market. The swiss cheese might seem like an odd choice for the salad but somehow it works. I’m partial to Jarlsberg. We both know you can’t go wrong when bacon is involved but the star of this salad is the vinaigrette. Simple, lemony, garlic-y goodness. It’s good to note that the dressing really should be made 3 or hours ahead of time (or the night before) so keep that in mind if you decide to make it!
This isn’t a pasta salad that is best served after sitting for awhile. Because of the greens, dress it just before serving. Be prepared to give the recipe out if you’re sharing with others and don’t forget the breath mints- I wasn’t kidding about the garlic-y part!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
- 1/3 lb whole wheat elbow pasta (or whatever kind you like!)
- Juice of 1–2 lemons (about 1/3 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 pound bacon
- 2 small heads romaine lettuce, torn in small pieces
- 3 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 cup coarsely grated Swiss cheese
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- In a mason jar or something with tight fitting lid, combine lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper. Slowly add oil, whisking continuously, until dressing is emulsified. Put lid on and let stand for at least 3 hours or over night.
- Fill a medium stock pot with water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook to manufacturers directions just until done. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Cook bacon over medium heat until well done and crispy. Remove from heat, drain fat and let cool. Dice and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine romaine, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, grated swiss, almonds, cooked and cooled pasta and bacon. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.