Monday, June 14, 2010

Pasta Salad... Without the Guilt!

Rotini Pasta Salad with Kalamata Vinaigrette

Pasta salad just embodies Summer to me. But as you will find at most festive BBQs in the steamy months, pasta salad is usually loaded down with heavy dressings and fatty ingredients. Not to mention all those carbs in the star of the dish.
I found this alternative in my trusty Cooking Light subscription and added my own twist to make it a Mr. and Mrs. favorite summer-time staple.

Rotini Pasta Salad- Adapted from Cooking Light
The Ingredients:
-1 box Whole Wheat rotini pasta (I use Barilla)
-1 red bell pepper, sliced and chopped
-1 yellow bell pepper, sliced and chopped
-1 small red onion, thinly sliced (I typically only use about a quarter of the onion.)
-1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and sliced in half
-1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
-3oz. smoked deli turkey, cut in chunks (I always ask my deli counter to chunk the turkey for me. Just tell them you need it for a salad dish).
-1/4 c. Kalamata olives, sliced (you can use whatever olives you have or just omit these)

-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
-1 large shallot, peeled and minced (you can use red onion if you don't have shallots)
-4 Tbsp. White Balsamic vinegar (regular Balsamic works too)
-2 Tbsp. water
-1 tsp. Dijon mustard
-salt and pepper to taste.

The Process:
-Preheat broiler.
-Cut red bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place red and yellow pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and dice; place in a large bowl.
-Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Add pasta mixture, tomatoes, onion and turkey to peppers; toss well.
-Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add garlic and shallot to pan. Cook 15 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.
-Place the garlic mixture, vinegar, and remaining ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. -Pour dressing over pasta mixture; toss well.
-Sprinkle salad with fresh sliced basil.

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