I thought about how to make a pasta salad that travels well while I was already in the kitchen baking the best chocolate chip cookies ever. It was the day before travelling 13 hours in the car from Farmington, Connecticut to Charlotte, North Carolina and I wanted to be prepared for the car ride with something that was full of vegtables so my entire menu for the day would not consist of fast food. For the record, I really look forward to eating from a fast food drive-through once in a while, but this trip to North Carolina was going to include a stop at the Waffle House and lots of barbecue so I figured I’d try to keep it as healthy as possible on the road. This salad was delicious, regardless, so I didn’t feel deprived of a large fry.
Pictures + Recipe of How to Make Pasta Salad that Travels
Here’s why this salad travels well: There’s no mayonaise involved. It’s really easy to make, and very customizable to both your taste buds and what’s currently available in your fridge and pantry. You can use up any vegetables and cheeses about to go bad, and as long as you have the base of pasta, a vinegar, olive oil, and veggies, you can improvise, which means you don’t have to do a big shopping trip.
In the days before heading out of town, I try to minimize grocery shopping as much as possible, which makes this pasta salad a great dinner the night before you travel, too.
I originally planned to make this recipe, but once I got the water boiling and started looking through the fridge for ingredients, I decided to improvise. I used champagne vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, and a combo of feta and grated parmesan cheeses.
As soon as the pasta was done boiling, I drained most of the water out and added spinach, cherry tomatoes, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and cheese. Once I had the base done, I separated the salad into two portions. In mine I added black olives and lots of capers; into the portion for my boyfriend I added a little more cheese which I offset with some extra squeezes of lemon.
Packed in a plastic container and put on ice in the cooler, this travelled well and lasted all the way from Farmington to Virginia.
I label everything because a) I write about organization for a living and b) no one wants someone else’s lunch.3