Prep Time: 10 minutes, approx
Cook Time: 20 minutes, approx
Now that the weather is warming up and we are heading into summer, it will soon be the season for salads again. I think my favorite one of all is the pasta salad: healthy, filling, and easy to make and to store. What better way to get some of your five-a-day than with a tasty, satisfying dish like this? Whenever I have this, I usually make about twice as much as I need, so that I have some leftover for the next day too, and can then have it for lunch. One advantage of doing this is because of what happens to pasta when it is cooked and then cooled. Apparently it is better for you to eat it this way, because the cooking-and-cooling process convert the carbs to resistant starch, which takes longer to digest and so fills you up for longer (thus making it a kind of low-carb, low-GI pasta dish!)
As far as preparing it is concerned, you can either cook the pasta and then wait for it to cool before adding the other ingredients, or you can do as I usually do-- add the rest to the just-cooked pasta, which gives you a nice warm salad. Either way, it tastes great! There are a number of different vegetables which work well here, but this recipe uses some of my favorites, to create a salad with a Mediterranean flavor. None of these veggies need cooking first, which gives a partly raw dish, which is again very health-promoting. I have used fusilli for the pasta in this example, but most types will work here.
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
- 1 cup (dry weight) of pasta of your choice (types that work well here are penne, shells and macaroni)
- Fresh chopped mixed herbs, e.g. basil, parsley, oregano), to taste
- Half of a red or orange pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of pitted green olives,
- 1 scallion/green onion, finely chopped
- 1 large handful of salad leaves, e.g.lettuce, spinach, arugula, etc.
- A few almonds or pine-nuts, toasted (optional)
- 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tbsps of vegan mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp of nutritional yeast (optional)
1.) Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, until it is still firm (al dente). Either use it straightaway while still warm, or leave to cool, before the next step.
2.) Chop pepper, scallions, etc. and add to other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3.) Add pasta to veg mix, then add seasoning, olive oil and mayonnaise. Toss it all well, so that the dressing mixes in and coats all the pasta and veggies.
4.) Serve at once with some crusty bread, etc, and a glass of wine (Italian, for consistency!)
You can also refrigerate any that you have over and eat the next day, or the day after. (It keeps well for a few days in the fridge, in a covered container).
Image courtesy of www.wish-bone.com