Simple Pasta Salads Recipes with Vegetables
The following recipe shows you how to combine pasta with tasty and healthy veggies to make one of the most nutritious and flavorful pasta salad recipes. The recipe calls for pasta spirals but you could use bowties, penne, or any other shape you like. If you usually serve your pasta hot, making pasta salad recipes is something that will show you how versatile pasta is. Pasta salad recipes are great for any season or occasion.
Cook the pasta until it is al dente, which means tender but will a little bite left. Overcooked pasta does not give you a good texture to base pasta salad recipes on, so follow the directions on the package and only cook it until it is al dente, no longer.
This recipe combines the cooked pasta with fresh vegetables, pine nuts, caramelized onions and a homemade herb and mustard salad dressing recipe, for well-balanced results. You can alter the ingredients, swapping any of the vegetables for others. The baby carrots are just a suggestion but they do look unusual and attractive served with the finished recipe. You can use a different dressing if you like, or garnish the salad differently.
- 1 lb pasta spirals
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- ½ chopped cucumber
- 1 chopped orange bell pepper
- 8 baby carrots, peeled but leave the tops on
- 2 oz pine nuts
- 1 chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard seed
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Ground paprika, to serve
- Cook the pasta and baby carrots together, until the carrots are tender and the pasta is al dente.
- Rinse the pasta in a colander and drain it.
- Transfer it to a big dish and coat it with olive oil to keep it moist. This will form part of the dressing.
- Sauté the red onion with the garlic in a little oil, in a skillet, until it begins to caramelize.
- Stir in a 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan and scrape up any stuck-on bits of onion.
- Shake the remaining red wine vinegar, mustard seed, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and a splash of olive oil together in a tightly-sealed jar.
- Toss the cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, pine nuts, and red onion with the pasta.
- Divide it between 8 serving plates or cups.
- Drizzle the dressing over the top.
- Sprinkle some paprika over each salad and serve immediately.
You can see how using baby carrots in pasta salad recipes adds a unique touch to the finished dish. Add cucumber, orange bell pepper and some other veggies, as well as a flavorful oil and vinegar-based salad dressing, and you have a beautiful healthy lunch or simple vegetarian appetizer recipe. Leaving the tops on the carrots looks attractive and sprinkling a little paprika over the finished salads garnishes them beautifully. There are plenty of different pasta salad recipes to choose from but this one is especially nutritious and satisfying. Serve it in glasses, as shown here, or in bowls.
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