Recipe: Garden Pasta Salad

by Pregnancy.org Staff

garden pasta saladDifferent seasons bring an endless bounty of produce from the vegetable garden, local farmer's market, your refrigerator or grocery store. This recipe takes a little of this and a touch of that. Try scavenging for whatever looks good and turn it into an elegant side dish! You can add leftover cold chicken, pork, beef or cheese and you've got a main dish!

Garden Pasta Salad

Prep time: 20 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes | Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

• 8 ounces whole-grain pasta (penne, rotelle, bow tie or fusilli), cooked and cooled
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh herb, such as basil, parsley, thyme or tarragon
• 1/4 red or garden onion, chopped or 1/4 cup snipped chives or green onions
• 5 cups total of any of the following:
 --Cucumber, chopped
 --Cherry tomatoes, halved or regular tomatoes, chopped
 --Summer squash, cubed
 --Zucchini, cubed
 --Bell peppers, cut into 1-inch squares
 --Spinach or arugula, cut into strips
 --Carrots, grated
 --Green beans, blanched
 --Broccoli florets, blanched
 --Eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes and lightly sautéed in olive oil and salted
• 3/4 cup salad dressing of your choice (we suggest Italian, vinaigrette or the creamy dijon yogurt recipe below)

Creamy Dijon Dressing

Whisk together 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon celery seed and 1 teaspoon honey (optional). The dressing should have a thick substance.

Directions

To make the pasta salad, combine pasta, vegetables and dressing in a large bowl. Refrigerate a half hour before serving to allow the flavors to blend. If you're short on time, mix the vegetables together with the dressing while the pasta cooks. Run the pasta under cold water until its cool to the touch. Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Cook's Note

That's only the beginning! Customize your pasta salad to your tastes and appetite with any of the following:

  • Crushed red pepper
  • Sliced olives
  • Leftover cubed chicken, pork or beef
  • Drained, rinsed chickpeas or kidney beans
  • Cheese cubes
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Pine nuts
  • Chopped celery
  • Sliced almonds

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