Pasta salad is a summer staple because it is cool, creamy, and satisfying. Pasta will give you the carbs you need for energy, and the salad will make it a healthy meal that will add roughage to your diet as well as vitamins. Before heading to the deli to purchase a pre-made version, try this recipe. It is quick and easy to prepare and yields six two-cup servings, enough to serve as a main dish for a hungry group of picnickers. Spinach gives this salad some crunch and the beans and feta cheese are unique additions.
You will need:
• 12 ounces dried farfalle or cavatappi pasta
• 5 to 6 ounces of fresh baby spinach
• 1 15-ounce can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
• ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, snipped (not packed in oil)
• 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon thyme or lemon thyme, snipped fresh
• 1 tablespoon oregano, snipped fresh
• 1 teaspoon lemon peel, shredded finely
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
• Shaved pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese
• Mixing spoon
• Pasta pot
• Plastic wrap
• Large serving bowl
Step 1: Combine the beans, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, garlic, green onions, lemon juice and peel, oregano, oil, salt, pepper, and thyme in the serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperatures during pasta preparation or for as long as two hours, occasionally stirring.
Step 2: Cook the pasta in the pot just prior to serving the pasta salad. Use the colander to drain water from the pot after cooking, reserving ¼ cup. Add this water and the cooked pasta to the spinach salad prepared in Step 1.
Step 3: Serve pasta salad while still warm or allow to cool to room temperature. Top with the parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese before serving.