Bright, light, cool, quick and easy meals are essential for summer (and taste great year round!). I whipped up this vibrant, gluten and dairy free pasta salad for a friend’s BBQ this weekend. It was a perfect side to go with all of the fresh fruits and veggies, salads and homemade veggie burgers on the grill. Even the hard core carnivores in attendance enjoyed the bright green pasta dish! Pasta salad also makes for perfect leftovers – try adding it to a green salad for lunch.
It’s easy to make substitutions. Use any fresh herbs for the dressing that you like or may have on hand growing in your garden. Most veggies taste delicious chopped up in this salad so while I had peppers and broccoli already in my fridge you could easily substitute any of your favorite fresh vegetables.
You can eat the rainbow of health promoting, immune supporting phytonutrients all in one meal with plenty of orange, green and red/purple antioxidants found in these veggies.
Fresh herbs are loaded with phytonutrients too. Basil contains vitamins C, K and A, iron, calcium and magnesium plus antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Chives are a member of the onion family which offers numerous phytonutrients like allicin, which is best known for its ability to help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and boost our infection and cancer-fighting potential. Parsley is a green food superstar offering vitamins A, C and B and folate which is important for heart health and also reducing the risk of certain types of cancers.
- 4 cups quinoa pasta, cooked
- 1 orange bell pepper (capsicum)
- 1/2 green bell pepper (capsicum)
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
Honey Lime Dressing:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 lime, squeezed
- 3/4 cups black beans, drain and rinse from BPA free can or from dry already soaked and cooked
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, to taste
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh chives
- 1 handful parsley
- 1 handful basil
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 1/2 tsp honey or pure maple syrup
- water as needed if too thick
Dressing Yield: 1 cup/8 oz/ 240 mL
1.) Boil water, add pinch of sea salt (optional).
2.) Prepare pasta according to package (I used quinoa pasta and cooked it for 11 minutes but brown rice pasta works well for gluten free pasta too.)
3.) While pasta is cooking, chop peppers, onion, broccoli, chives.
4.) Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to blender except lime. Squeeze lime over other ingredients in blender. Blend well.
5.) Once pasta is ready, drain into colander, let cool and transfer to large bowl.
6.) Add chopped vegetables.
7.) If using BPA free canned beans, drain and rinse, otherwise scoop beans from pre-cooked dried beans made earlier and add to pasta and vegetables.
8.) Pour dressing over pasta starting with half the amount.
9.) Stir to mix dressing into pasta and vegetables, adding more dressing as desired. I used the whole batch of dressing but it tastes great over green salads so you may want to save for leftovers.
- Quinoa pasta – brown rice or whole wheat pasta
- Olive oil – avocado oil, flax oil
- Chives – scallions, green onions
- Lime – lemon
- Apple cider vinegar – white wine vinegar
- Orange pepper – red or yellow bell pepper
- Green bell pepper – other green veggies like zucchini (courgette), cucumber, celery
- Carrot – summer squash
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 - 8
- Nutrition per serving:
- Saturated Fat2g
- Protein 8g
Yields and nutritional information are estimated and will vary depending on produce size and equipment used.