Ham, Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad; tomatoes

I love cold ham in salads of any type.

Well, I just love cold ham.

Feel free to substitute smoked turkey

Beans with basil is classic combination.

Add in tomatoes and we have a great summer salad.

It’s finished with a naturally lower fat / lower calorie dressing of half mayonnaise and half Greek Yogurt. I’ve learned that mixing yogurt and mayo keeps the flavor of the mayo without all the calories. I don’t use low or nonfat products, but I’m happy to reduce fat and calories naturally.

Ham, Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups (4.2oz, 125gr) pasta, bite-size – fusilli, rigatoni, penne
  • 1 tbs olive oil, for salads
  • 10oz (300gr) deli-style (baked) ham, cubed
  • 6oz (180gr) green beans, cut into 1″ (2.5cm) lengths
  • 3/4 cup (3oz, 90gr) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup (2oz, 60gr) mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup (2oz, 60gr) plain or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs fresh chives, snipped
  • 2 tbs fresh basil, snipped

Ham, Green Bean and Tomato Pasta Salad

Instructions:

  • Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse in cold water and toss with olive oil.
  • Fill a medium saucepan 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Add beans and blanch for 3 minutes.
  • While the beans cook fill a large bowl or pan 3/4 full of cold water.
  • When the beans are done, drain and dump into the cold water.  Swirl around until cool then drain and set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard and lemon juice.
  • Put pasta, ham, beans, herbs and tomatoes in large salad bowl.
  • Add mayonnaise dressing and toss lightly to combine.    Serve.

Print Recipe

I’ve been doing some experimenting this year.

I hadn’t planned on it, but it happened.

Well I planned on part of it.

When I planted our first vegetable garden in Andorra my gardening techniques were frequently corrected by the local farmers. One of the things I was taught was to pinch out all of the new shoots on tomato plants.

I carefully did that every year. Of course, some always escaped my notice, but I tried.

This year, when I was researching diseases and planting times I came across a gardener that said not to do that. Basically, the idea was to let them grow and produce as much as they can.

I wasn’t sure I agreed with that sentiment but I liked the idea of more tomatoes. (One can never have too many tomatoes…. really)

So, for all the ‘indeterminate’ tomatoes (all except the Romas) I pruned a little, but less vigorously then usual.

As to the Romas…..

I tried something totally different,

We live in a big tomato-growing area. During our weekly walks I noticed that the Romas were just left to grow and produce however they wanted to. No staking, no tying, no pruning…. no keeping the tomatoes and leaves off the ground…. Just rampant growth and lots of tomatoes.

So that’s what I did.

These are two of my three Romas

roma_garden

They are absolutely loaded with tomatoes and I’ve already picked about 10 lbs (5 kilos).

Below is my experiment.

roma_fence

Romas are always sold in packs of 6.

I planted the three in my potager, put in the stakes and decided to sort of keep them under control – but no pruning.

I had three plants left.

I couldn’t bring myself to toss them on the compost. They just sat around in their little pots for about three weeks ‘in case I needed them’. I watered them, but that was it.

They started to look pretty pathetic so I decided to toss them. Then I thought I’d just stick them in the ground by the fence and see what happened.

Look at the difference between the two lots – all the same age.

Guess that’s what being root-bound can do…..

Question answered.

And I might get enough tomatoes for a cup of soup!

9 thoughts on “Ham, Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad; tomatoes”

  1. How great to have all of those tomatoes…and I agree you can never have too many. I gave up growing them where we live….just not enough sun due to the ever growing forest around us. We have been getting gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from a local farm…they are divine!

  2. I am taking note of all your gardening comments for future reference. I suspect most of my gardening experience in the southern hemisphere is not going to be of much use here. Everything seems to grow more vigorously during the summer for a start and the pests are different.

  3. Katie,
    I have often heard and never practiced pinch back. My tomatoes have always been prolific. But, now living in North Carolina where the soil is poor, more like sand than soil, and the rain is intermittent, I decided to take other measures.

    I bought a large bag of high-end potting soil. I planted the tomatoes in a hole three times the normal size and filled it with the potting soil. The potting soil has a high proportion of peat which I figure will even out the moisture needs. It seems to have worked even though we’re in the midst of a drought.

    Cheers,

    Chuck

  4. I didn’t do a garden this year. Just too much with the move and all, but I did put two tomato plants in a huge wooden barrel outside the barn. They’ve gotten lots of sun and lots of water and I’m finally seeing several tomatoes on them, but I do think they do better in the ground as soon as possible. I used to get scads of tomatoes and would make my spaghetti sauce for the year with them. I’ll miss that this year 🙁

  5. Ina, I love having them…. but I’m so tempted to just give up the stress and buy at OUR local farm

    Gill, things do seem to grow fast. My main advice is pick a good spot. I had no idea when we first dug up the garden that there had been a building there years ago. Now the foundation is surfacing after 5 years.

    brassfrog, an old Spanish farmer taught me to pinch – but I always miss a bunch, so mine get out of control – and take over everything. Basically, I just muddle through…. We have clay – like concrete. Maybe I should plant fewer with more care….

    Kate, to pinch the new shoots when the plants are young…. they get so out of control otherwise.At least, mine do.

    nightsmusic, i just fill my freezer with peeled, chopped Roma’s. I used to do sauces, etc. but now I figure I can do the cooking in the winter with the tomatoes from the freezer LOL

  6. Came back to say, you do know you can freeze them whole? I rinse them, make sure they’re dry, toss them in a freezer bag and that’s it. What’s nice it, when you take them out, all you need to do is run them under hot water and the peel just sloughs right off. Much easier than blanching and peeling. And they break down in chunks in sauces nicely.

    • I’ve frozen the cherry tomatoes whole – just squeeze to get the skins off, but I peel and chop the rest to save room in the freezer. My freezer gets very, very full….

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