Cold Pasta and Ham Salad

During the summer months, I like to make a cold pasta salad to kind of cool things down at dinner. I have made a number of cold pasta salads, and the ham salad is my newest variation. I think you will find this easy pasta meal tasty and a fun family meal to make on a hot summer day.


1 lb ham steak – fried or BBQ per direction, and then sliced into narrow one inch strips.

1/2 of a small jar of fire roasted red peppers, sliced into narrow 1 inch long strips.  

4 green onions diced.

8 pitted Kalamata olives cut in half.

1 Tbs fresh chopped basil.

1 clove garlic minced.

2 Tbsp Hoison Sauce (found in Asian section of market).

1/8 cup of bloody mary mix

1/4 cup of mayonaise (or use mayo substitue from Southwest Ceasar dressing recipe) 

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 and 1/2 cups of penne rigata pasta

In a large mixing bowl stir in the the mayo, Hoison, bloody mary, basil, and garlic (add dash of salt and pepper) .

Prepare pasta per directions on box. While simmering the pasta, place the frozen peas in the strainer you will later drain the pasta in.  After pouring the pasta into the strainer (and over the peas), rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and cool the pasta. 

When pasta is cool and fully drained of water, add pasta to the mixing bowl in which you previously mixed ingredients and gently stir (fold) the sauce mixture into the pasta.

Next add the ham, olives, and green onion and again gently stir (fold) them into the pasta.

For better presentation place a couple leafs of lettuce on each indiviual plate, and place the pasta salad serving on top.

That’s it.  You just made an easy cold pasta salad that both tastes and looks great and will hold in the refrigerator until your kids or guests arrive.         


Seems like just yesterday my daughter was in high school where she lettered on the surf team. I know, for sure, lettering in surf probably sounds a little weird to any reader not in So Cal or Hawaii. To be fair it’s not all about sun tanning. In fact, surf team practices were conducted at around 6:00 a.m., before school. To me, bobbing up and down on a board in the Pacific Ocean in near darkness does not seem easy.

I remember one surf contest where the waves were huge. The tournament was tied. Which school would win rested on the girl’s teams. No girl on the other school’s team would go out in the pounding waves, and if just one girl on our team went out and caught a single wave the school would win. My daughter was the one girl that challenged the waves that day, and both she and the school were victorious!

I know what your thinking, another AND STUFF about surfing. But fear not, it’s another AND STUFF about skiing! The surf story was just to set the stage.

So we went to Denver and then Keystone, CO to visit family, friends, and ski. When it came time to go up to Keystone it was dumping snow. When we drove down the freeway ramp it was hard to tell when we were off the ramp and actually on the freeway. But we kept on going, and shortly after we arrived in Keystone the freeway was closed. This is very good news for those of us already in town because the next day there would be less people on the mountain putting tracks in the fresh powder.

I like to think that I am a fairly reasonable and thoughtful guy. But there are times when what seemed like a good idea just doesn’t pan out.

The good idea? Rather than skiing in the fresh powder, I would take advantage of the soft snow and go with my daughter to her snowboard lesson. In Keystone the ski/snowboard school area is a fair distance up the mountain accessible only by a chairlift. The schooling run does not terminate at the base. In some respects it is not unlike being taught to swim starting from a boat about 1200 feet off the beach.

My daughter being a surfer and a skateboarder picked up snowboarding pretty quickly. I on the other hand did not. As it turns out, learning to snowboard in knee deep powder is very hard. During the entire lesson I kept muttering to myself, “why oh why did I abandon my trusty graceful skis for a ¼ inch thick plank of fiberglass”.

Eventually the snowboard lesson ended. The instructor praised my daughter’s natural skills, stared past me and boarded away. There we were, up on the beautiful Keystone mountainside with a post card view of the village below. And, my feet were strapped onto a plank.

Oh well, there’s only one way down, so off I boarded. It was not long until I lost sight of my daughter. I trudged on, tumbling my way down. My natural learning curve was likely negatively impacted by my bad attitude resulting from the realization that I could have been skiing powder, but for my bad idea. After an eternity, exhausted and out of breath, I had progressed maybe 2/3 the way down, and to a point where walking was possible. Trust me, this is the ONLY time I have ever unstrapped, and walked down a mountain. It wasn’t so bad, kind of nice and quiet. After awhile I saw another walker coming towards me not too far away, a girl, actually my daughter.

So there you go, she was the only girl brave enough to charge the ocean and take the monster wave for her school, and on this day brave enough to get out of her snowboard and walk down the mountain with her dad.

So, while enjoying your cold pasta and ham salad with family or guests, why not strike up a conversation about acts of bravery you have seen.     

Good Eating and Table Talk,


This entry was posted in Easy Pasta Recipes, Easy Recipes and Stuff and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.