This post, and it’s 5-ingredient pasta salad recipe, is sponsored by Ken’s Steakhouse Salad Dressings. Because if you’re like me, sometimes you need an easy recipe in a hurry.
“Oh sure! We’d love to come over. What time? In an hour? Okay. What can I bring?”
Urgh. Why did I just say that? Why did I offer up to bring something other than that bottle of wine that’s been waiting to be sipped and shared? Why can’t I just let the graciousness go and show up empty handed? Because my mama didn’t teach this girl to show up without a little somethin’ somethin’ to add to the party.
And so the scramble to create something stellar begins. Luckily, I have a super simple potluck solution at my kale chopping fingertips.
This pasta salad blends two of my go-to party menu contributions into one: Caesar salad with roasted tomatoes and a classic pasta salad. What makes this recipe even easier than either of those on their own is simple, quality ingredients I normally always have on hand.
Shake It Real Good
I usually make my own dressings. I’m a bit of a master at simple herb infused vinaigrettes and make a mean blue cheese dressing. But when I’m in a time crunch, keeping a few bottles of dressing like Ken’s Steakhouse Dressings in my pantry makes life oh so much easier.
When browsing the bottled salad dressing aisle, Ken’s has always been the brand that caught my eye and made it into my basket. First, because it simply looks higher quality—because it is. And second, because Ken’s Dressings simply taste better than others I’ve tried. Family-owned since 1941, Ken’s Dressings delivers homemade taste and ingredients within the bottle that actually look real—because they are.
The flavors aren’t your standard fare either. Sure, they have a stellar Zesty Italian in their line, but they really play with ingredients with flavors like Raspberry Walnut, Sweet Vidalia Onion, Parmesan and Peppercorn and about 30 more seasoned flavors that are well worth trying.
About the recipe
As I mentioned before, Caesar salad is one of the recipes on my entertaining short list and because this recipe has just 5 ingredients, quality is key. Ken’s Dressings offers a Caesar salad dressing in a creamy and classic vinaigrette version and also in a lite version. For this Kale Caesar Salad I chose the creamy version to dress my favorite bowtie noodles and evaded the time-I-didn’t-have-task of coddling eggs and dealing with anchovies.
A quality Parmesan cheese is essential. Don’t wimp out and use the pre-shredded version. Flavor is what counts and a great Wisconsin parmesan adds just the right bit of nuttiness.
Kale is a stand-out addition to this pasta salad because it doesn’t limp out like other greens might. After adding Ken’s Caesar dressing to the mix, the pasta salad is popped into the refrigerator for the flavors to mix and mingle. The sturdier green keeps it crunch even after the passing of time.
A standard addition to my traditional Caesar—thanks to Ina Garten—is roasted tomatoes. What I love most about roasted tomatoes is how sweet the little orbs become after a stint in the oven. They truly pop with sweetness and are the #1 reason I’ll eat a tomato that isn’t yet in season.
- 1 pound farfalle pasta
- 1 pint small tomatoes such as grape or cherry
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
- 1 16 ounce bottle Ken's Creamy Caesar Steakhouse Dressing
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and season with kosher salt. Cook the pasta according to package directions or until al dente, drain and place in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, preheat an oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a small baking tray, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss lightly. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast until the tomatoes have softened and started to burst, about 8-10 minutes.
- Chop the kale into small pieces and add to the pasta with the cherry tomatoes. Pour about half of the bottle of Ken's Creamy Caesar Dressing onto the salad and gently toss, adding more dressing if desired. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
Ken’s is celebrating their commitment to flavor and wants you to be a part of the party.
Simply make your own recipe and post it to Instagram, follow and mention @kensdressings, and use the hashtag #byebyebland to be entered to win. The contest is open now and ends on Memorial Day – Monday, May 25, 2015. Fans can also enter to win starting Tuesday, May 26 directly on the @kensdressings Instagram channel.
Ken’s team will select 10 winners who will receive a prize of:
2 winners will receive a high end bamboo salad kit and Ken’s products.
3 winners will receive a 21 Piece Bamboo Insulated Picnic Basket and Ken’s products.
5 winners will receive Ken’s products.
Good luck and happy cooking.
This post is in partnership with Ken’s Foods. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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