My husband who is part Italian LOVES pasta in any shape or form.
This recipe may be a little different than what you’re used too because I use no mayo and no Miracle Whip (heaven forbid!) but I promise this pasta salad is sassy, sunny and super easy to throw together. I recommend using gluten free or whole grain penne or rotini but feel free to use whatever your family likes.
I’ve got a new gluten free brand I absolutely love called Le Veneziane Gluten Free Pasta. It’s made in Italy and unlike most gluten free pastas that are made with rice flour, this one is made with corn flour. It’s got tons of 5 star reviews on Amazon, it’s delicious and it fits in with a paleo diet!
The best thing about pasta salad, there are no rules, if you like it, put it in there. If you have something leftover from another meal, go ahead and throw it in. No limits, no boundaries – whatever you like!
By the way, this is a terrific dish for potlucks and big enough to share!
- 1 box pasta, cooked according to package directions and rinsed under cool water
- ½ cup toasted nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds or pine nuts (to toast, I just shake in a hot skillet for about 5 minutes until fragrant)
- 1 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese
- 2 chicken breasts that have been sprinkled with salt and pepper, doused with a bit of olive oil and roasted at 350 for 25 minutes. Or you could use meat from a rotisserie chicken, or salmon or shrimp or grilled eggplant and portabellos, whatev- ...you get the point!
- A handfull of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- ½ cup chopped red onion (or, Vidalia onion would be delish)
- 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
- ½ cup kalamata olives cut in half
- 3 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon agave or coconut nectar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Put your rinsed pasta in a bowl and add the spinach, chicken, tomatoes, olives, cheese and nuts and anything else you have that makes you happy.
- In a separate bowl, mix the vinegar, mustard, agave and garlic then whisk in the olive oil with a fork. Toss with the pasta and refrigerate till nice and chilled. Relax, eat and enjoy!
Feel free to customize this to your family’s liking. I’m thinking bacon, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil or roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, grilled vegetables and gorgonzola or sliced flank steak, tarragon, asparagus and swiss cheese. Be creative and have fun!