Healthy Vegetable Pasta Salad
This lovely salad is colorful and appealing, and it is so easy to put together. The pasta is cooked and allowed to cool, and then you can add blanched broccoli, tomato, olives, cheese, and more. The dressing is homemade too, and the flavors in that will go beautifully with the flavors in the salad itself. If you want to add some toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts, feel free, and you can also use half mozzarella and half blue cheese or feta if you like.
If you are wondering how to ensure your broccoli stays bright green, even after cooking it, the answer is you need to plunge it in boiling water for 2 minutes, then immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water. This is the secret behind setting the color and keeping it vivid green. This is a lovely trick you can use to keep your broccoli looking as delicious as possible.
You can serve this as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish. It is also nice with steak. If you want to serve the salad as your entrée, you can do that, and it will be perfectly satisfying. It also travels well so you might like to consider this for a potluck meal or as a picnic dish. Whether you make the recipe exactly as written or tweak some of the ingredients to suit what you have in the refrigerator or what your palate prefers, you can be sure of a lovely result.
- ½ lb dried pasta shapes
- 8 oz mozzarella cubes
- 1 chopped fresh tomato
- 6 chopped basil leaves
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 6 sliced black olives
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, for garnish
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Cook the pasta following the instructions on the package.
- Drain it and allow it to cool in a big bowl.
- Blanch the broccoli for 2 minutes in boiling water.
- Drain and toss it with the pasta.
- Add the olives, mozzarella, tomato, basil, and pine nuts if using.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Shake it to combine, the adjust the seasonings if necessary.
- Toss the dressing with the salad.
- Sprinkle the dried oregano on top and serve.
Few salads look as appealing as this one, which boasts not only delicious pasta and cheese but also all kinds of delicious fresh vegetables and herbs, as well as black olives and even pine nuts if you want to include those. This is the kind of salad which is incredibly versatile, and works just as well as a side dish for steak or chicken as it does served as an appetizer or even lunch with some crusty bread on the side. Quick and easy to prepare, this is a worthy Italian salad to add to your repertoire.
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