Herbs

How To Make the Best Pasta Salad Without Mayo — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I have to admit an unpopular opinion: I am just not into mayonnaise-based summer salads. When it is hot out, I want to eat light and refreshing salads, not thick and creamy ones. So when I say this is the best pasta salad ever, it's with that opinion in mind. But a mayo-free pasta salad can still come with a degree of creaminess. In this case it's by way of an olive oil-rich vinaigrette and a sprinkling of flavorful soft cheese.

Start by choosing the right pasta for the job, making an oil-based dressing, and adding some personal flair with a number of optional add-ins. Learn how to make your new favorite pasta salad right here, right now.

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Recipe: Beet “Ambrosia” — Quick and Easy Weeknight Sides

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You know what I love? Being surprised by a familiar ingredient or an old recipe. This beet ambrosia does both. Ambrosia is typically a sweet fruit salad studded with marshmallows and chopped nuts, dressed with a sweet, creamy dressing. Beet ambrosia takes its visual cues from traditional ambrosia, but is decidedly savory.

A bite of this beet ambrosia is like a bite of the classic beet and goat cheese salad, but easier to eat. The beets are tender and soaked with a vinaigrette, but sweet grapes and salty pistachios keep the salad in balance. The dressing is rich and herby, with a whipped texture and a tanginess, thanks to goat cheese.

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Recipe: Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Chimichurri — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Christine Han)

If you're looking for something other than chicken and burgers to grill, shrimp is the answer. When grilled with an herby, garlicky chimichurri sauce that doubles as both a marinade and a dipping sauce, shrimp skewers have enough bold flavor to make you feel like a kitchen rockstar, even though they only take five measly minutes on the grill to cook. Serve them for dinner on a busy weeknight or as a fast and fancy appetizer at your next grilling party. Don't be surprised if you come back to this recipe over and over again.

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Recipe: Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You're going to want to keep this salad firmly planted in your summer meal plan rotation and at the ready for all of your picnics and potlucks. It is what I consider a multi-purpose, do-it-all salad — one that everyone can eat. It gets its bulk from protein-rich pantry staples like quinoa and beans, and picks up freshness, crunch, and color from a medley of veggies before it's tied together with a zippy chile-lime dressing. You can count on it to hold its own as the main course or a side that pairs with all your summer favorites.

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Recipe: Summer Squash Risotto — Quick and Easy Vegetarian Dinners

(Image credit: Christine Han)

A creamy, comforting bowl of risotto can be yours for the eating even on a weeknight. Add grated zucchini for a healthy helping of summer vegetables; chop some fresh, fragrant basil; and, of course, throw in a few handfuls of Parmesan cheese and you have a delicious vegetarian dinner to enjoy. Yes, there's some stirring involved, but pour yourself a glass of wine and put on a podcast or some music, and let the repetition be a relaxing meditation on the deliciousness to come.

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Recipe: Strawberry Mojito Pitcher — Easy Pitcher Drinks

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Strawberries, on their own, are the taste of summer. Add them to a mojito and you have a berry good drink. The red berries leach their sweetness into the pitcher as they're muddled, acting as the ideal contrast to all that mint and rum. Now, batch that recipe up so that it'll fill your favorite pitcher and you have the makings of a fresh and fruity crowd-pleaser. If you thought regular mojitos were refreshing, this one is doubly so.

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