Make-Ahead Lunch Template: Pasta Salad with Veggies, Cheese, and Greens

Earlier today, we started talking about strategies for making lunch ahead of time for bringing to work. This pasta salad is one of our favorite templates for make-ahead lunches. Everything can be prepared ahead and then quickly assembled in the morning, plus there are so many different variations that we rarely get bored!

Pictured above is what we currently have in our fridge: cheese tortellini, caramelized onions, celery, and apple tossed with spring greens.

We mixed the tortellini, onions, and celery ahead of time with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. In the morning, we scoop out a portion for lunch and pile the greens loosely on top so they don't get too wilted. We slice up the apple just before eating and toss everything together.

We've done other variations with regular pasta, feta or blue cheese crumbles, and whatever vegetables we're in the mood for. Instead of balsamic and olive oil, we sometimes bind the pasta with a little yogurt, mayo, or creamy goat cheese. Sometimes we toss in toasted nuts for their texture and flavor, and apples or berries are a tart counterpoint.

We usually eat this as a cold salad, but if we nix the greens, we can also eat it warm. Either way, this lunch really hits the spot and gets us through the rest of our day!

What would you prepare with this template?

Related: Easy Appetizer Template: Jam, Pork, and Cheese

(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)

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