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This recipe is my recollection of a recipe my best friend's sister used to make. She had explained it to me once and I quickly scribbled down the ingredients and brief description of how she said she made it. I have made this several times and it is one of those "to taste" recipes. I sometimes garnish this with crumbled cooked bacon or a little Parmesan cheese. Please don't substitute reduced fat or fat free dressing - I tried doing this once and was very unhappy with the results. I prefer Marie's brand for the dressing (usually sold near produce in a small jar..I use pretty much the whole jar usually), but you could also use homemade. Prep time allows for cooking the pasta. Plan ahead - this needs to chill.
- 1 (12 -16 ounce) package rotini pasta, cooked and drained, cooled completely (corkscrew shape)
- 1 bunch fresh broccoli, florets only, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups white seedless grapes or 2 cups red seedless grapes, halved, approximately, to taste
- 1 (15 ounce) can black olives (small or medium size)
- 1⁄2-1 cup red onion, sliced thinly or finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2-2 cups chunky-style bleu cheese salad dressing, approximately to taste, do not use fat free (such as Marie's)
- salt, to taste
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- crumbled cooked bacon or sunflower seeds, optional garnish
- Combine pasta, broccoli, grapes, olives, and red onion in a large bowl.
- Pour all of the blue cheese dressing into a separate mixing bowl.
- Add enough of the reserved canning liquid from the olives to thin the dressing enough to your liking (*note:ifyou forgot to save the canning liquid, just use some cold water)- you may not need the full 1/4 cup, or you may need a little more- it depends upon how thick the bleu cheese dressing you purchased was.
- The idea is to make the dressing thin enough to evenly coat all of the veggies& pasta lightly.
- Mix thinned dressing with the veggie& pasta mixture and toss to coat well.
- Chill at least 2 hours or overnight to allow pasta to absorb the dressing a bit- the chilled salad will appear dry.
- Taste for seasonings- you may add a little salt& pepper if desired, but it may not be necessary depending upon the dressing brand you selected.
- Toss salad again before serving.
- Garnish if desired.
- Garnishing IDEAS: If you like a little crunch, please feel free to garnish this with some crumbled cooked bacon or some sunflower seeds- sometimes I have even stirred them into the salad itself.