Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tri Color Pasta Salad

I've been trying to make some healthier dishes lately and pulled this bad boy out of my mental list of recipes. This tri color pasta salad is stock full of fresh veggies and a healthy vinaigrette that really enhances all elements of this dish and sends the flavor off the charts. You can use any type of pasta you like or any mix of veggies you choose to. The recipe makes a lot of pasta salad so feel free to cut it in half if you want to.

Ingredients:
1 box tri color rotini pasta
2 broccoli crowns, cut into bite size pieces
2 green zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
2 yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces
2 bell pepper (you choose color), cut into bite size pieces
1 package grape tomatoes
1 tbs Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb
1 tbs dried basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan (optional)

Ingredients for Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. In a large pot filled with boiling salted water, add broccoli and let cook for a couple minutes.
2. While broccoli cooks, use this time to chop veggies. Place cut veggies in a large mixing bowl.
3. Remove broccoli after 5 minutes and place in mixing bowl.
4. Add pasta and let cook until al dente (just a tiny bit of a bite to it).
5. Use remaining time to chop rest of veggies.
6. VINAIGRETTE: To make vinaigrette, mix all liquids until emulsified. Add seasonings one at a time. Make sure everything is blended well. Taste and add salt/pepper if needed.
7. Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to veggies.
8. Mix pasta and veggies then add vinaigrette. Mix until veggies and pasta is well coated.
9. Add basil, Mrs. Dash, and parsley and mix well.
10. At this point, you can add the Parmesan and serve. I like to let it refrigerate overnight because that gives the vinaigrette a chance to create some magic.

As you can see, the dish is delectable! The vinaigrette really offsets the natural flavors of the veggies and the pasta. This pasta salad is very filling and guilt free! Other ways to change it up would be to add fresh baby spinach or even add some red onion. If you want, you can remove all the spices and add Asian inspired flavors or even Tex Mex spices would be delicious here. Get creative with this dish as it lends itself to be as versatile as you want it to be. If you are not a traditional "cook", this is a great first dish to try. The only thing that's actually "cooked" is the broccoli and pasta! I'm telling you this is a foolproof dish.

Give it a try and let me know how it turns out. I may actually have to make this and change it up with some new spices and veggies.

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