Cavatappi Pasta Salad

Everything about my third child has been a surprise.  The pregnancy was a surprise.  I had a two year old and a 7 month old at the time I found out, I was not planning on a third baby yet.  The gender was a surprise.  I thought for sure I was going to have another girl but nope another boy it was.  The birth was a surprise.  I went in to the doctor for some rib pain a month prior to my due date and was told I was dilated to a 6 and needed to deliver.  What?!!?  The homecoming was a surprise.  I expected a healthy baby and a routine homecoming.  Instead Drew was born with a condition called transient tachypnea (fluid in the lungs) and had to be transported after his birth to the NICU at Sutter Memorial Hospital. 
It was heart wrenching having my newborn baby be taken away by ambulance to another hospital while I had to stay overnight where I had delivered him.  The next morning I was discharged and went to be with my sweet boy at the NICU across town.  That was where he stayed and I spent most of my time for the next 6 days. 
Hospital food is not my favorite so for the first couple of days my meals consisted of a pack of Peanut M&Ms from the vending machine and a bottle of water.  Definitely not the ideal diet for a postpartum mother.  Luckily I soon discovered Selland’s, a fabulous little deli just down the street from the hospital.  Everything at Selland’s was amazing!  However over the course of the week, I became particularly fond of their Cavatappi Pasta Salad.  It was just the comfort food I needed to survive that week of Drew in the NICU.
Now that two years have gone by since Drew was born, he is still that child who continues to surprise me.  What will he break today?  jump off of today?  spill all over the floor?  drop in the toilet?  climb on?  draw on? put in the washing machine?  throw across the room?  toss over the balcony?  shove inside the vacuum hose?  hide in the trash can?  That child keeps me busy!  He keeps me on my toes!  But somehow even with all the surprises and the craziness of three little ones, I found a moment to remember that pasta salad and attempt to recreate it at home…

Cavatappi Pasta Salad
1 lb Cavatappi Pasta
2 Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Packets
2 Cups Buttermilk
2 Cups Mayonnaise
½ – 1 ounce Chopped Fresh Dill
1 pint Grape Seed Tomatoes, whole
8 oz. crumbled Feta
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 head of celery, chopped
Baby Spinach
Cook pasta in boiling water until tender.
While pasta is cooking, mix both Buttermilk Ranch Dressing packets with buttermilk and mayonnaise.
Stir chopped fresh dill into dressing and set aside.
When pasta is tender, drain
and then mix in half of the dill dressing mixture (reserve and refrigerate other half for later), 
green onions,
feta cheese,
and tomatoes.
Cover and refrigerate pasta for up to 24 hours.
Just before serving, pour in the rest of the dressing

and stir.

Then add several handfuls of fresh baby spinach

and gently toss.


inspired by Selland’s Market-Cafe

** I will be sending this over to the Side Dish Show Down**

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  1. 1
    little miss mel says:

    mmmm, I can taste it now!

    I didn't realize how low-cal and non-fat it is! hehe. I don't care, it tastes YUMMO.

  2. 2
    kwsuydam says:

    With all the rain we have had in Kodiak; I think my husband (AKA Drews's Grampa) could use this comfort food! :-)

  3. 3
    Amanda says:

    Oh, we LOVE Selland's! Got their take-home Valentine's dinner last year and it was incredible! Salad looks great!

  4. 4
    Cinnamon-Girl says:

    I'm sorry you and your precious son had to go through that Allie. He sounds healthy now and like a bundle of energy… and joy! This salad looks insanely delicious! Rich and creamy with lots of my favorite flavors. Thanks for sending it to the Showdown!

  5. 5
    Melissa says:

    :( I was so looking forward to this but I could have saved myself time and work by dumping a jar of ranch dressing on pasta….all I could taste was ranch dressing. Oh well.

    • 6
      Allie says:

      Sorry you were dissappointed in the recipe. You could always try less of the buttermilk ranch dressing next time. This is just the way I like it :)