OK, it’s not officially spring yet, but with daylight savings time starting this weekend, it’s sure starting to feel like it. So here is a spring-inspired pasta salad –chock-full of colorful, fresh vegetables. This is perfect for a light supper or lunch, or a healthy side dish, as the days grow warmer.
One of the reasons I like this recipe is that it’s very flexible. Don’t have penne pasta? Use whatever you have around the house. Bowtie (also known as farfalle), shells or even plain old elbow macaroni also work just fine. And, you can add or substitute other vegetables according to taste or, again, what you have on hand. Asparagus, snow peas, broccoli or fresh mushrooms would all be good here– just think about a mix of colors, shapes and textures.
Springtime Pasta Salad
1 lb penne rigate pasta (or any pasta of your liking)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 red onion, cut in half and julienned (cut into thin strips)
1/2 of a 6 oz bag baby spinach
1/2 cup sliced black olives, kalamata olives, or green olives, pitted (your choice)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
4 TBS lemon zest
2 TBS Dijon mustard
2 TBS sugar
4 TBS fresh chopped tarragon
4 TBS minced fresh garlic
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and then rinse under cold running water to chill. Place pasta in large mixing bowl. Add vegetables to bowl and set aside.
Combine all dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour over pasta and veggies. Toss to coat. Can be served immediately, or chilled to serve the next day.