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Pasta Salad with Balsamic Basil Vinaigrette

September 4, 2012

balsamic pasta

I’ve had a severe lack of vegetables in my diet lately. Like I struggle to get in a serving a vegetables a day kind of diet. Now it’s not entirely my fault. I have been doing a lot of traveling lately. Between visiting friends in Georgia, heading back to Germany, and then vacationing to neuschwanstein castle with my Husband, I’ve pretty much just been eating whatever I could get my hands on. And they may or may not include a double does of pastries daily as I pass all the German bakeries in the streets… okay, so it usually does. The ex-nutrition student inside of me is cringing at my habitual eating. I mean, technically you are supposed to have 5 to 9 servings of fruits and/or veggies a day. I’ve been lucky to break 3. UGH. Soooooo, in an attempt to dig myself out of this disgusting rut, I made THIS salad.

Although, an un-attractive murky color… this salad is very delicious! I used a tricolor pasta, which kind of made the color a little funnier, but it’s just because of the dark colored balsamic vinegar dressing. Speaking of which, the recipe for the dressing alone is worthwhile. It makes way more than you need for the pasta salad so you can keep the leftovers and use it later on for salads.

balsamic pasta

The recipe calls for grape tomatoes, broccoli, red onion, olives, and garbanzo beans. If you don’t like any of these, it’s really easy to swap them out for something that you do like. Cannellini beans for garbanzo beans? Scallions for red onions? Regular tomatoes for grape tomatoes? Pretty much anything goes! That’s my favorite thing about salads : D

balsamic pasta

Pasta Salad with Balsamic Basil Vinaigrette
Serves: 8 to 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 box whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut in small florets
  • 1 small red onion, quartered and sliced thin
  • 1 cup black or kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • good pinch of course salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • For Dressing:
  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • good pinch of coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
  • big handful of fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. Place broccoli florets in a colander. When pasta is ready to drain pour over broccoli florets. Drain well and put in large bowl. Set aside and let cool.
  3. In the meantime, make your dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Process ingredients for about 30 seconds until well blended and emulsified.
  4. Add ¼ of dressing to pasta and broccoli and gently toss. Once combined add the tomatoes, onions, beans and olives to pasta salad along with more dressing. Do not use all of dressing, save some for right before serving because pasta salad will soak up most of dressing and may dry out a bit. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Add additional dressing as desired and gently toss salad before serving. Taste for salt and pepper, I usually add a good pinch of both before serving. Serve with bowl of grated Parmesan cheese for garnish.

adapted from Aggie’s Kitchen

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Aggie September 4, 2012 at 11:08 am

A favorite in our house! Glad you enjoyed it!

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Marlene June 28, 2013 at 2:53 pm

I loved this! SO good!

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