I am a big believer that anyone can throw together a quick and healthy dinner in next to no time flat. Although, like everyone, some nights I simply lack the creativity and motivation to create a meal from nothing. Fortunately the world is filled with shortcuts! One of my favorites builds off the idea of “semi-homemade” – by using pre-made deli salads as a base for stir-fry!
Of course I’m not talking about just any deli-salad, my favorite is Fresh Direct’s Italian White Bean and Pearl Pasta Salad. It’s a mixture of white beans, Sardinian toasted pearl pasta called fregola, diced zucchini, roasted tomatoes and kalamata olives with a white balsamic vinaigrette.
To elevate the pasta salad into a meal I simply stir-fried about 1/3 cup of asparagus sliced cross-wise (4 large stalks) in 1 tsp of olive oil for about 4-5 minutes until soft. Then I added a heaping 1/2 cup of pasta salad with half a sliced grilled chicken breast and sauteed until warm. I “grill” my chicken on a George Foreman grill (no joke), but however you decide to prepare your protein be conscious of overcooking it during this second saute.
What’s so great about this dish is not only that you can add really any vegetables and protein you have on hand but also that the pasta salad flavors the whole dish – no additional seasonings (or thought) necessary! In my opinion there is nothing more mindless that I can throw together – and it beats the pants off Lean Cuisine any day!
At $6 a pint Fresh Direct’s pasta salad is decent deal to boot. I use it not only as an addition to salad’s and stir-fry’s but also plain as a healthy afternoon snack. Of course this idea can be leveraged with any pre-made bean/pasta/grain salad – use your imagination at the supermarket and you could be thanking yourself later in the week!