Crookneck Squash Pasta Salad



½ cup pasta (macaroni, rotini, small shells), uncooked
1 small crookneck or yellow squash, washed
1 medium carrot, washed
1 ½ cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried, and stems removed
4 ounces low-fat or fat-free cheddar cheese, cubed (1 cup)
5 Tablespoons reduced-fat or fat-free mayonnaise
1½ Tablespoons orange juice
½ tsp dried sweet basil
½ tsp prepared mustard
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper

  1. Cook pasta with water according to directions on the package.
  2. Drain pasta. Chill in refrigerator if desired while preparing vegetables.
  3. Wash the squash and carrots under cool tap water and scrub with a vegetable brush, trim ends and remove any bad spots. Do NOT peel either the squash or the carrots.
  4. Cut the squash into small pieces and shred the carrots then place both in a medium-size bowl.
  5. Wash the fresh spinach in cool tap water with a salad spinner or colander and thoroughly dry. Remove stems and any bad leaves. Stack several spinach leaves on top of each other and roll together. Slice crosswise through the roll, making very thin slivers of spinach.
  6. Add the pasta, spinach, and cheese to the squash-carrot mixture; toss to combine.
  7. Make the dressing in a small bowl. Thoroughly blend mayonnaise, orange juice, dried basil, prepared mustard, garlic, and black pepper.
  8. Pour dressing over the salad mixture and toss to evenly distribute the dressing.
  9. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled.

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