I was at the local Marshalls store yesterday looking for popsicle molds – I want to make some healthier summer time frozen treats so be on the lookout for those – when I across a display of colorful Italian pasta in various shapes. You know the kind: the pasta made with tomatoes, spinach and beets in order to give the pasta those pretty colors. Well, I couldn’t resist. How DOES one resist things in Marshalls? I would love to know. I’m a sucker in the home goods and journals sections of the store but I digress.
It’s the fourth of July and Canada Day long weekends this weekend. It’s summer. It’s hot and you probably have BBQ party plans. So, pasta salad sprang to my mind when I saw the display. “Why not?” I asked myself. Pasta salad is one of the ultimate summer meals and, since this recipe makes seven cups, it’s also a great item for meal planning for the week.
Feel free to use this as a base. Swap out vegetables you don’t like or have on hand. Add more to it like shrimp, chicken, garbonzo beans. Be creative.
Note: Since this is a pasta salad, it does involve a two step process. You have to cook and chill the pasta ahead of time.
Makes 7 cups
500 grams 5 flavor pasta shapes
2 cups broccoli flowers, cut into small pieces
1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ cucumber, diced
10 ounce container of grape tomatoes cut into quarters
¼ cup crumbled feta
6 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
5 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used 2 Tablespoons for a little extra zing)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Fresh ground black pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions but for 1 minute less than recommended. You want the pasta to be al dente. Drain, rinse and chill in refrigerator.
Add chopped vegetables to chilled pasta. Toss. Add dressing (NOTE: I only used ½ of the recipe, but add as much or as little as you would like) and lightly toss. Garnish with crumbled feta cheese.
Combine ingredients in a small bowl, whisk to blend. Store in refrigerator, tightly covered until ready for use.