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Vegetable Pasta Salad

A great do-ahead recipe as the salad tastes better the next day after the flavors blend.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (cut in very thin strips)
  • 4 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta such as rotini, bow ties, shells, or penne
  • 2 cups fresh vegetables; green peppers, summer squash, cucumbers, broccoli florets (chopped)
  • 3 medium tomatoes (cut in thin wedges)
  • 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together; red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and Dijon mustard.
  2. Whisk in olive oil gradually. Stir in basil and set aside.
  3. Cook pasta. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in large bowl and toss with 1/3 of the dressing.
  4. Layer ingredients on top of the pasta in the following order: vegetables, tomatoes, and olives. Top with remaining dressing.
  5. Sprinkle fresh basil leaves and parsley on top. Cover and chill 4-24 hours.
  6. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and toss lightly before serving.

Variation: Use a small pasta or orzo. Omit the cheese and olives. Add 2 cups chickpeas along with the herbs.

Recipe Source: Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-West

Dandelion Salad with Citrus Dressing

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh lemon thyme
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh lemon balm
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh dandelion leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, washed and patted dry
  • 1 cup sliced wild leeks
  • 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh dandelion petals

Directions:

  1. In a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid or a mixing bowl, combine orange juice, lemon juice, lemon thyme, lemon balm and olive oil. Shake or whisk well to combine. If desired, season to taste with salt.
  2. In a large salad bowl, combine dandelion leaves, spinach, leeks, alfalfa sprouts, parsley and dandelion petals. Drizzle with enough dressing to coat leaves and toss well.

Tip:

The light citrus dressing is just right to allow the tangy, bitter taste of the dandelion leaves to have their effect on the body. Should you choose not to let the bitter quality predominate, add 1/2 cup each of chopped apricots and raisins and 1/4 cup almond slivers.

Variations:

Substitute: Arugula, mizuna, mesclun or sorrel for dandelion leaves; Half red onion, thinly sliced for wild leeks; fresh rose petals or nasturtium flowers for dandelion petals.

Omit: Dandelion petals if unavailable.

Recipe Source: Healing Herbs Cookbook by Pat Crocker