CHICK’N GREEN OLIVE ELBOW SALAD
Pan-fried chick’n and elbow macaroni tossed with tofu cubes, peas, celery, red onion and garlic stuffed green olives. The fat-free coating/dressing is nothing more than Balsamic vinegar, Poupon Dijon mustard with spices and basil. The total salad is low calorie compared to traditional mac salad – a refreshing mix of fresh and canned/boxed/bottled ingredients. Sure to please!
Makes 17 cups
1 lb. elbow macaroni cooked in boiling, liberally salted water according to pkg. instructions, drained well, rinsed under cold water and let set in colander to drain further till ready to add to salad
12 oz. pkg. froz. GARDEIN CHICK’N STRIPS – oil skillet over medium heat, cook strips till browned and tender, turning often – remove from skillet and cut each strip into 4-5 pieces
- Some stores leave out their frozen product before storing in freezer, thinking they’ve got time to do something else, since it’s frozen. As a result it partially thaws, and in this case the strips stick together when refrozen, making separating and cooking them difficult. It just takes longer at a lower temperature. Let them fall apart as they cook, rather than force it and end up shredding the product.
10-12 oz. froz. peas, cooked in hot water till plump, then immediately removed and drained well
1 c. diced celery
1/3 c. fine dice red onion
1/2 c. large, garlic stuffed green olives, sliced crosswise into disks – I used Delallo brand (super taste, could’ve eaten the whole jar)
1/2, 12oz. jar sweet red roasted peppers, drained and diced
14 oz. pkg. extra firm water-packed tofu, rinsed, wrapped in towel and gently pressed with hands to remove outside moisture – cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 t. salt
1/2 c. Balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. Poupon Dijon mustard
fresh grind black pepper
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. onion powder
2 t. dried, crushed basil
1/2 t. ground allspice
In extra-large mixing bowl or pot, combine macaroni, chick’n pieces, peas, celery, onion, olives, roasted pepper and tofu. Before mixing sprinkle salt on top of tofu cubes. Then toss the whole mix till evenly dispersed.
Add Balsamic vinegar, mustard, spices and basil, then toss to evenly coat.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Pack in covered container till ready to serve.
Notes: Balsamic vinegar produces the richest and most robust flavor of all the vinegars, which suits this salad perfectly, since there’s no added oil.
Leftovers or salad made several days in advance dry considerably as the macaroni absorbs the vinegar. Therefore before serving, mix some Dijon mustard with Balsamic vinegar and mix through salad.
Steve, liking oil as he does, prefers an extra virgin olive oil drizzle with a Tablespoon of veg mayo as a topper to his large serving. I tried it. Tasted great. I also tried it with a Tablespoon of Daiya blue cheese dressing as a topper to my individual serving and liked that too.
The point is that when you add the fat, use it as a topper, rather than mix it throughout the dish where you’ll end up using more than you need or want.