Meatless Monday – Southwestern Pasta Salad

As most of you know, my husband recently made the announcement that he wanted to become vegetarian for the month.  And I instantly panicked that my meat-loving hubby had been abducted by aliens.

Well, days have passed since this revelation, and I’m fairly confident that the man I’m living with is the man I stood next to on my wedding day.  Phew!

However, that left me with a predicament: vegetarian meals.  I haven’t cooked very many in my lifetime and certainly not enough to keep us fed for four weeks.

And so, the hubby and I have formulated a plan to introduce Meatless Mondays.  After awhile, we may even introduce one extra vegetarian day, but — for now — having one vegetarian meal a week is a start!  🙂  On the other days, we’ll just focus on healthy meals that include lean meats.

The first meal we tried was a Chicken Pasta Salad from Cooking Light. I just substituted cubed cheese for the chicken, and we didn’t miss the chicken at all.

It was one of those hearty meals that left us feeling satisfied but not heavy.

I’ll admit, that I was a little worried about the use of rice vinegar, because that stuff is potent. (Have you ever put your nose right above the bottle and sniffed, just to see what it smelled like?  Don’t.  You may faint).  After I made the salad, I still could only smell that rice vinegar.  However, I stuck the salad in the fridge, let the flavors meld over-night, and it actually turned out great!  You can taste the slight spiciness of the cumin and hot sauce, mixed with the sweetness of the fresh corn and peas.  Delish!

Score one for our first Meatless Monday!

(Do you have a vegetarian dish that I absolutely have to try?  Please leave a comment and include the link or email me the recipe at:  🙂

Southwestern Pasta Salad (original recipe found on Cooking

  • 2 cups cooked small seashell pasta (about 1 cup uncooked pasta)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup cubed cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup shredded yellow squash (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrot
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear), cooked
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce


  • Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine rice vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Pour vinegar mixture over chicken mixture, and toss gently to coat. Serve chilled.
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10 Responses to Meatless Monday – Southwestern Pasta Salad

  1. I absolutely LOVED this salad. So delicious. 😀

    Yes. Yes. So many delicious vegetarian recipes that I know you will love. Right now I’m digging homemade baked beans with whole grain cornbread. Or the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad which is fabulous for a hot summers day. It tastes like couscous, only healthier! 😀

  2. dottylizzy says:

    If you have a good chilli recipe, leave out the meat, pile in extra veggies and add kidney beans, canalenni beans, gabanzo beans (or any other of your choice) and serve with rice or cornbread. Yum!

    Or a salad recipe I use for my hubby’s lunch is delicious. I usually put some chopped ham in his, as like Nate, my hubby is a meat-lover! 😉
    1 can canalenni (or butter/gabanzo) beans, drained
    3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
    1-2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
    5 green/salad onions, chopped
    10-15 olives, halved
    a bunch of coriander/cilantro, chopped
    a good big chunk of cheese, chopped
    4-5 portions of cold, cooked pasta
    pepper and french salad dressing to taste

    Mix everything together well and enjoy!

    Some alternatives I’ve thought about are cucumber or celery (my hubby hates both!), sundried tomatoes, corn, feta cheese instead of cheddar cheese and different salad dressings.

    Sorry about the vague quanties – I’m dreadful at sticking to any recipe that isn’t baking, and this one I created sort of by accident! 🙂 Also, I make this up on Sunday evening and put it in a large tuperware in te fridge and then it lasts him a whole week of lunches, with snacky things on the side, so there’s probably way too much for just one dinner!! 😛

  3. I love Southwestern flavors! This looks super yummy 🙂

  4. allieksmith says:

    Meatless Monday’s are a great way to start out testing vegetarianism. I thought the same things when I became a vegetarian but having recipes gets easier as time goes on! (A little creativity goes well too!!)

    I have a few of my fav. veg recipes on my blog.. a lot of soups!

  5. Matt and I very rarely eat meat during the week so we eat a LOT of stews. You never really notice that there is meat missing from your meal with a hearty vegetarian stew. I mean, it’s not like taking the steak off your plate and replacing it with a slab of tofu, you know?
    Indian dishes are a great place to look for inspiration because a lot of them are vegetarian or can be made vegetarian. I usually like to incorporate beans into our dinners so that I feel fuller.

    A lot of the Food Blog Friday posts that I’ve been doing are vegetarian and some are really good like the White Beans and Cabbage, Apple and Sweet Potato Fritters, Chicpea Picata, and Baked Tofu.

  6. I missed the announcement that your dearest one actually wanted to be vegetarian as part of being healthy!!! I think that “vegetarianism” can look scary, but there are lots of options for meatless eating that are soooooo tasty. I’ll have a look for some specific ideas and shoot them your way! 🙂

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