Vegetable Pasta Salad with Balsamic Dijon Dressing.

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This pasta salad reminds me of summer.  Light, packed with veggies and would make the perfect lunch, dinner or side with some grilled chicken, pork, fish or steak.  My kids love to snack on it before swim meets.  Packed with vegetables and I used whole wheat pasta to bump up the nutritional value.  You can use whatever veggies you have on hand  – it is also perfect to make for a picnic or party.  I like making this ahead of time to let the dressing have time to flavor all of the components and make it even tastier.  Perfect weeknight meal too!

Ingredients:

2 boxes of small pasta (shells, farfalle etc.)
1.5  cups of fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
1 bell pepper (red, green or yellow) washed and diced
1 spring onion, diced
1 bunch of asparagus spears (heads only)
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper
OPTIONAL:  mozzarella bocconcini
Garnish:  fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing:

1/4 cup of good quality balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of good quality olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of a good quality dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon (or more if you like) red pepper flakes

Directions:

Pasta salad:   Get a large pot of salted water boiling.  In a large separate bowl, fill the bowl with about 20 ice cubes and water for an ice bath.  Once the water is boiling add your green beans and asparagus.  Cook for 3 minutes.  With a hand strainer (you are going to use the hot water so don’t use a sink strainer), remove the veggies and submerge into the ice bath (blanching) to stop the cooking.  The veggies should be colorful and partially cooked.  After 1 minute, drain and add your veggies to a large serving bowl that you will mix all of your ingredients to.

With the hot water still boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package details.  Drain and run cold water over top to stop the cooking and bring the temperature down.

Slice up your other veggies and add them, along with your pasta to the serving bowl.

To prepare the dressing:

Add all of your ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine.  The dijon will act as a binder and make the dressing packed with flavor.  Then pour over your pasta salad and toss.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss again prior to serving.

— Knead to Cook

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3 Comments

  1. Robin. I love to have lots of salads like this on hand all summer long too. My daughters devour it. I really love the fact you can sub in whatever vegetables are seasonal. Yumm!

  2. Pasta salad is one of my go-to entrees for summer. I love that I can prep in advance and have a refreshingly cool dish that doesn’t require a lot of hands on work. This looks yum!!

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