As I’ve written before, I love pasta salads. Most are a combination of lovely seasonal vegetables added to a lively pasta and dressing. The trend now however, is a lower ratio of carbs to the overall salad. Meaning the add-ins are the stars of the show, not the carb filling pastas.
Don’t know about you but I have a cupboard full of 4 oz. leftover pastas just waiting for the right mix.
Veggie Forward Pasta Salad
In a large pot of boiling water, cook 6 ounces of fusilli according to package directions.
Meanwhile make vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. Slowly add 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, whisking until emulsified.
Once pasta has cooked, drain and toss in a large salad bowl with 6 cucumbers, very thinly sliced crosswise, 3 cups quartered cherry tomatoes, 2 cups crumbled feta cheese, 3/4 cups pea shoots, 9 ounces baby arugula, 6 tablespoons chopped mint, 3 cups coarsely chopped parsley, 1 cup chopped chives, 3 large Belgian endives, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, 1 large red onion, cut into paper thin half rings.
Add enough vinaigrette to moisten and flavor. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 8 as a main course or 12-14 as a side.
This next salad is one of those that is really meant to be a meal unto itself.
Pasta Salad With Roast Chicken, Roquefort, Pears, Red Grapes and Walnuts
Make walnut vinaigrette: In a lidded jar, combine 1/2 cup walnut oil, 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon grainy mustard, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1 large clove garlic, finely minced.
Secure lid and shake vigorously until well blended. Let stand at least 1 hour to allow flavors to marry.
Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook 6 ounces penne, rotelle or farfalle according to package directions.
Drain cooked pasta and toss in a large salad bowl with 8 cups roast chicken cut into bite-size pieces; 1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed and coarsely chopped; 3 large Belgian endives sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces; 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces; 3/4 cup seedless red grapes, halved vertically; 1 cup Roquefort blue cheese crumbled; 1 cup thinly sliced celery; 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts; 1/4 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley; 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced into paper thin half rings. Core 2 Bosc pears and sliced into 1/4-inch thick wedges. Add to pears to salad.
Toss with just enough vinaigrette to moisten and flavor. Adjust seasonings as needed.
(Source: The wall Street Journal)
Susan Woody has been a food writer form ore than 25 years and is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.