A Healthy Salad for a Labor Day Cookout

Late Summer Flowers

Late Summer Flowers

With Labor Day on the horizon the end of summer is near! For those of us in SW Florida the end of hot humid summer means it’s more likely that we will eat outside, go to the beach or have a cookout. Years ago I developed recipes that are at once heart healthy, tasty and outside friendly. The latter means no mayonnaise to go bad in the heat.

For those of us who either have had a stroke or heart attack, or don’t want them, this recipe works because it is low in fat and salt.

I’ll share this one which goes well with barbequed foods or as a standalone as a compliment with other salads.

Preparation time is 20 – 30 minutes maximum.



Bob’s Pasta Salad

2 lbs Barilla Rotelle – #75
½ good sized chopped red onion
½ each – good sized yellow and green pepper – chopped
12–14oz chopped sun dried tomatoes bottled in oil – get in Costco or most decent supermarkets
2 6 oz cans sliced black olives – drained
12 oz green olives with pimentos – chopped or whole as you like
1/3 cup juice from green olives jar


1 cup dark balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
6-8 tsp mild honey mustard
1-1½ tsp oregano
½ -1 tsp basil
¼ tsp celery seed
¼ tsp cayenne pepper – If you like spicy food then add more of this
2-3 tsp crushed bottled garlic
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste – I use no salt. Fresh ground pepper is best.

Optional – Add some halved cherry tomatoes to recipe

Boil pasta to slightly al dente. Thoroughly drain and toss in large bowl with juice from olives to prevent pasta from sticking. Throw in all above solid ingredients.

For dressing, in glass mixing bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Thoroughly wisk spices in juices and then let sit for a few minutes so that flavors combine. Re-wisk and then combine with pasta and vegetables. Mix and chill for a few hours.

Bring to room temperature and serve. Salad should be made at least 4-6 hours before serving, a day ahead is preferable. If you are hosting the party this cuts down your last minute panic.

If salad is made day or 2 ahead of time and it needs a bit more liquid before serving, use a bit of Wishbone Zesty Italian dressing, shaking vigorously before pouring.

Note: Spice amounts are approximations since I don’t measure. I may have used more oregano, basil etc. Also, you may like it more or less spicy. And remember, I add no salt although some of the ingredients do contain salt.

Leftovers will easily stay for several days in refrigerator.

If the group is smaller cut the ingredients in ½.