Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pasta and Quinoa Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

This recipe has a few things going for it: it's healthy, easy and good. It's also easy to adapt to your taste so just add whatever veggies you like or add some feta cheese for even more flavor. I like to use rotini pasta because the quinoa gets stuck in the spirals. And quinoa may sound fancy but it's really easy to cook and very good for you.

The Recipe:

  • 1 lb rotini pasta (whole wheat if you want even healthier)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup cucumber, cut into chunky pieces
  • 1 cup fresh tomato, cut same size as cucumber pieces
  • 1 cup yellow/red pepper, cut same size as other veggies
  • 1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper
  • Creamy Balsamic Dressing (combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup mayo, 1 tsp. honey, some salt and pepper, then drizzle in about 3/4 cup olive oil while whisking. It's hard for me to put this into measurements though cause I do it by sight and make sure to taste! I use this dressing for lots of different salads and pasta salads. Like this recipe.)

The Method:
  1. Cook pasta as directed with one added piece...add quinoa to the boiling water at the same time as the pasta as it takes around the same time to cook. Drain with fine mesh sieve or colander with smaller holes to make sure to catch all of the quinoa. Transfer to a medium/large bowl and allow to pasta/quinoa to cool a bit.
  2. Add veggies and enough dressing to coat. Taste, add more dressing if necessary and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Eat immediately or after cooled in the fridge. Leftovers store well in the fridge.
Oh, one more thing...I usually add baby spinich to this as well. Just add a few cups to the pasta/quinoa right after you drain it, stir and cover for a few minutes. The heat from the pasta wilts the spinach just a little and it shrinks just a bit. Stir again then continue to follow the recipe by stirring, transferring to a medium/large bowl and allowing to cool before adding veggies.

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