But on a page of my Christmas binder in which I keep the recipes I love to cook at Christmastime, I found a notation—“Make this for next year’s holiday gathering.” I further noted that the green and red colors of the salad contents would look festive on a party buffet.
So when my cousin called to announce the date she was having folks in for a pre-Christmas lunch, I was ready to sign up for my food item: the Italian Vegetable Toss.
One luncheon guest, as she dined on my salad, asked me what all was in the melange. Another question might be, “What’s not in it?” Lots of fresh veggies—broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, green onion, and artichoke hearts—along with cooked bow-tie pasta (which I subbed for the called-for shell macaroni) and the simple addition of bottled Italian salad dressing are mixed up to make this winner of a food item.
Unfortunately the recipe in my Christmas binder was clipped in the long ago and doesn’t contain the source. I’m going to guess it’s from a holiday Southern Living issue at some point in the distant past. The demo dish was photographed with pine cones and Christmas greenery around it, so I’m not the only person who once deemed this perfect for a holiday occasion.
The salad tasted great, but the best part for me was serving it in my mother’s cut-glass salad bowl, which has contained countless other salads in past years as we made the trek to my cousin’s house for holiday get-togethers. Although the elegant bowl didn’t house her usual gelatin, I think she would have enjoyed this dish that just looks like Christmas.
Italian Vegetable Toss
1 1/2 cups shell macaroni (I subbed with bow-tie pasta)
2 cups broccoli flowerets
1 cup cauliflower flowerets
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (6-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2/3 cup Italian salad dressing
1 medium avocado, seeded, peeled, and sliced
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. In a large bowl combine macaroni, broccoli flowerets, cauliflower flowerets, sliced mushrooms, artichoke hearts, ripe olives, and chopped green onion. Toss with Italian dressing. Cover and chill for several hours. At serving time toss vegetable mixture with avocado and tomato. Makes 12 to 16 servings.