(NAPSA) - When you haven't got the time or inclination to cook a meal, salads can be a natural. Often, the cooking process is little more than boiling water for pasta or grain or for blanching a vegetable. Bulking up salads with fresh vegetables, fruits, flavorful cheeses or a handful of nuts can make for delicious versatility and satisfy the appetite without overindulging.
Confetti Pasta Salad: Cook 8 ounces tricolor pasta until al dente, drain and toss while it's warm with 1/2 cup pine nuts, 1 1/2 cups shredded Jarlsberg cheese and 2 cups each celery root (cut matchstick style) and chopped green (or yellow) pepper.
Vinaigrette: Combine 6.5-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts with 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon country mustard and 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Toss with pasta. Serves 4-6.
Creamy BLT Salad: Cook 8 ounces fusilli pasta until al dente, drain and toss while it's warm with 1/4 pound chopped cooked bacon, 2 cups cherry tomato halves, 1 packed cup fresh chopped basil or spinach, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 4-ounce log fresh goat cheese, crumbled (such as Woolwich Dairy Chevrai).
Cool Green Bean Salad: Blanch and immediately cool 1/2 pound skinny string beans. Chop and combine with cooked couscous (enough to serve 4), 1 large can albacore tuna (drained), 1/4 cup slivered almonds, 1/4 cup chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes and 2 cups (small cubed) Jarlsberg.
Vinaigrette: Whisk together 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon mustard and, to taste, sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Tip: You can also use cooked, cool potatoes instead of couscous.
Blueberry Penne Pasta: Cook 8 ounces penne pasta until al dente, drain and toss while it's warm with 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or almonds, 1 packed cup baby arugula, 1 1/2 cups blueberries and 1/4 cup golden raisins (or chopped dried cherries). Toss with Cool Green Bean vinaigrette, adding a touch of honey to it. Top with shavings of Gran Maestre Manchego, a Spanish sheep's milk cheese.
A mild part-skim-milk cheese rich in calcium and protein, Jarlsberg has a buttery, rich texture with mild flavor. For more recipes, tips and entertaining ideas, visit www.norseland.com.