When the Red Gold public relations lady called me and started talking about summer salad recipes that call for canned tomatoes, I will admit that I initially thought it sounded weird. But then I considered how scarce fresh tomatoes still are in these parts around Memorial Day, if they aren’t hydroponic, which can be pricey. Canned tomatoes are still a tasty, nutritious alternative in many dishes, so as long as the recipes didn’t say “Top shredded lettuce with canned tomatoes and ranch dressing,” I decided to give them a chance.
The cookbook Red Gold sent includes several cold pasta salads with canned tomatoes, as well as the old, familiar standby: tomato, corn and black bean salad. A friend of mine used to bring a similar concoction to just about every summer potluck, and it was scarfed down with much enthusiasm.
Their tomato, corn and black bean salad, known as Southwestern Salad, calls for 2 cans of Red Gold Mexican Fiesta diced tomatoes, drained, a 10-ounce package of frozen corn, cooked and drained, 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans, a cup of Thousand Island dressing, 1/2 cup red bell pepper strips, some red onion and ground pepper. They suggest serving over salad greens.
I think I could get on board with that dish, as well as with their Mexican Pasta Salad recipe, which has a creamy homemade cilantro dressing that I could see using in other applications. I’ll post that below, along with an EXTREMELY simple recipe for Pasta Club Salad that calls for packaged chicken strips and boxed pasta salad mix. I’d probably steal the idea and use roasted chicken or grilled breasts instead, with some crumbled bacon, pasta and mayonnaise, but it sure does look easy in a pinch if you’ve got to bring a side to a cookout this weekend and are pressed for time.
Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend!
Pasta Club Salad
1 (10 oz.) package classic ranch with bacon pasta salad
1 (6 oz.) package prepared chicken strips, flavor of choice
1 (14.5 oz.) can Red Gold Diced Tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1. Prepare pasta salad according to package directions. Drain pasta.
2. Stir in chicken, tomatoes and green onions. Cover and chill for 1 hour before serving.
Mexican Pasta Salad
Creamy Cilantro Dressing:
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups (9 oz.) orzo or rosamarina pasta
2 (14.5 oz.) cans Red Gold Diced Tomatoes (Mexican Fiesta flavor), drained
1 (14.5 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1. For dressing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. For the salad, cook pasta using package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool; drain again. Combine the pasta, tomatoes, corn, black beans, cheese, green bell pepper and green onions in a bowl and mix gently. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Spoon into a lettuce-lined bowl.
Source: Red Gold Tomatoes.