Simple Pasta Salad with Roasted Peppers, Ham and Peas

When I teach web and print design, I always talk about KISS – keep it simple, stupid. I think that some of the finest recipes are those that follow the same ideal.  You don’t need a lot of garbage amassed in a pot to make deliciousness – just a few choice ingredients well played off of each other and you are done.  Even better, with these few components in action, chances are you won’t have to do a whole lot of cooking.

Simple Pasta Salad with Roasted Peppers, Ham and Peas © Spice or Die

My sister Lexi refuses to eat mayo based cold salads, or as she likes to say, questionable sauces.  This recipe is anything but questionable – the familiar flavors of rosemary, mustard and ham elevate this pasta salad to another level, giving savory zing to where else there might be bland mayo.  You’ve got roasted peppers and peas for both sweetness and color, and a few choice spices to round things out.  Done and done.   This is my ultimate make on a Sunday and leisurely eat throughout the week kind of recipe – it keeps well, is portable, and works as lunch, dinner, side dish, late night bite, or a way to extend a meal with impromptu guests.

I use ham because I love the taste with the rosemary, but vegetarians can leave it out for an equally delicious salad.  Also worth trying is cooled, poached chicken in place of the ham.  You can follow the recipe for preparing the chicken on my recipe for Chicken Salad.

Simple Pasta Salad with Roasted Peppers, Ham and Peas

1/2 c. of low-fat or fat-free mayo
2 tbs. of dijon mustard
1 tbs. of chopped rosemary
1/4 c. of roasted red peppers, diced
1 c. of frozen peas
1 1/2 c. of diced ham
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1 tsp. of salt
pinch of paprika
1 lbs. of pasta (penne, farfalle, orechiete, whatever you have around)

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil.  When the water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook.  In the last 4 minutes of cooking time, add peas to the pasta water.  Drain pasta and peas and cool under running water.

Add rosemary, roasted red peppers, ham, black pepper, salt and paprika to a large bowl.  Dump in pasta and peas and stir.  Add the mayo and dijon and stir.  Refrigerate and then eat at your leisure.