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Makes 18 side-dish servings: 3/4 cup each
Picnic and cookout season is here. So I thought I’d share with you a recipe that’s sure to be popular at casual outdoor parties. It’s simply traditional pasta salad … but a bit more special than your everyday recipe. It’s full of colorful veggies, lots of textures, and loads of flavor. By the way, leftovers taste great … if you have any!
Calories Saved: 50
16 ounces dry whole grain rotini or other pasta shape
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh bite-size broccoli florets or chopped asparagus*
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese**
1 (6 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 large orange bell pepper, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 small or 1/2 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), thinly sliced, rehydrated (if need)
1/3 cup hot banana pepper rings or thinly sliced pepperoncini, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano, or to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, about 9 minutes. (Alternatively, “lid cook” pasta! Here’s how: Stir the pasta into the boiling water; cover; remove from heat; and let cook covered without heat for 9 minutes. That’s it!) Drain the pasta (do not rinse) and, while hot, toss with 1/4 cup of the oil, the broccoli, and garlic in a large bowl. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Then chill in the refrigerator.
- Add the vinegar to the cool pasta and toss to coat. Add the cheese and toss to coat. Add the artichoke hearts, bell pepper, grape tomatoes, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, hot pepper, basil, oregano, salt, and black pepper and toss to combine. If not serving immediately, chill covered in the refrigerator. (Hint: It’s okay to chill overnight.)
- When ready to serve, toss with the remaining 1/4 cup oil, adjust seasoning, and serve at room temperature.
Per serving: 180 calories, 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 4g sugars, 6g protein
*If using asparagus, add the asparagus tips to the pasta about 2 minutes before the pasta is finished cooking.
**Cheese can be served on the side, if desired.
(Disclosure: I am a paid spokesperson for Barilla America, Inc. However, this recipe was not developed on their behalf; I was not paid to develop it for my blog.)
The “Before” Recipe
italian bow-tie pasta salad
Adapted from Taste of Home recipe
Makes 18 servings
1 (16-ounce) package bow-tie pasta
2 cups grape tomatoes
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup pickled banana pepper rings
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe black olives, drained
4 thin slices hard salami, diced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.
- Combine the pasta, tomatoes, cheese, bell pepper, onion, pepper rings, olives, salami, and fresh basil in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, black pepper, and dried basil in a small bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and serve.
Per serving: 230 calories, 14g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 310mg sodium 21g total carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 6g protein
- Simply add more veggies that you love, like broccoli or asparagus; you’ll get a bigger serving size!
- Mild cheese can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of richer-tasting ingredients. Try using a stronger or sharper cheese so it’s as distinct as all of the other ingredients. You may be able to use less if you wish, too.
- If you’re making a recipe vegetarian, keep the umami up to boost savoriness. Sun-dried tomatoes can give depth of flavor in lieu of meat, like salami. Plus, using sun-dried along with fresh tomatoes creates an interesting layering of tomato flavors.
- Skip the dried herbs on fresh preparations. Use fresh on fresh.