After discussing a few options, we decided on a pasta salad. For Jeff, we left the pepperoni separate. For my milk allergy, we left the cubed mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheeses separate. For Nancy, we used gluten-free pasta made from quinoa and cornmeal. (I couldn’t tell the difference.) Problem solved. The salad proved refreshing and delicious, pleasing every palate and satisfying each food preference. This recipe is good made early in the day or the day before so the flavors can blend. See the heartier chicken variation in my cookbook "Mealtime Magic: Delicious Dinners in Half the Time." Such a great blend of flavors and textures!
Everybody’s Favorite Main-Dish Pasta Salad
1 (8-oz) package quinoa/cornmeal shell pasta
1 stalk fresh broccoli
1 green pepper
1 small red onion
1 (5-oz.) jar olives
1 (5-oz.) package sliced pepperoni
1 cup diced mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 (8-oz.) bottle Italian dressing (My favorite is Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar)
Cook shell pasta according to package directions. Drain in colander and rinse with cold running water. Pour into big mixing bowl. Rinse and trim broccoli. Cut tops (florets) into bite-sized pieces on a cutting board. Pare, rinse, trim ends off carrot. Cut in half crosswise. Trim an edge, lengthwise, to keep carrot from rolling. Cut into ¼-inch rounds. Fill a small saucepan with about an inch of water; bring to a boil over high heat. Add broccoli, carrots, and peas. Return to boil, cover, turn down heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and cool.
Rinse and cut green pepper in half. Pull out and discard seeds. Cut into strips; then cut across strips to dice. Cut onion in half lengthwise. Peel off outer skin; cut out the root end. Place onion flat side down. Score onion. Cut across the onion to dice.