Travel... I live for it. The getting away from home for a few days in addition to getting out of the kitchen brings that relaxation we all need every once in a while. That said, one of the best parts of traveling is coming home and getting back to food that makes you feel good. When I'm on the road I tend to disregard some of my regular eating habits (low carb) in favor of "living in the moment" (there's nothing wrong with Brioche French Toast 3 days in a row, is there?), and I find that sometimes I just don't feel right... happy, but not "right". Hence, as I return from a week in Palm Springs, this month's entry into Wendy, The Weekend Gourmet's, Monthly Salad Bar Club couldn't be more timely.
Enter beans and sun-dried tomatoes! 5 years ago I would have turned my nose up at anything sun-dried tomato, but lately I can't get enough of Trader Joe's Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil. With a jar always in my pantry, these beauties tend to find their way into all sort of menus, with the latest being this Greek-like version of a potluck pasta salad.
Just a few ingredients toss together quickly for this flavorful side or light lunch, and the addition of spinach, cannellini beans and cucumber add texture as well as nutrition. Feta brings that lovely saltiness that I love so much, and the sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil have the ingredients melding perfectly in no time.
Wendy... thanks for inspiring me to get back on track with this versatile salad, I'm eager to see what everyone else has brought to the July Salad Bar Potluck.
Greek-Like Pasta Salad
Tossing just a few ingredients together brings a big flavor punch and also makes this salad the perfect "to-go" version for any event.
2 cups prepared pasta of your choice (more or less as desired)
1 can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 Persian cucumber, chopped (may use any type of cucumber you prefer)
3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
freshly ground pepper
Place prepared pasta, beans, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced red onion, garlic and cucumber in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the balsamic vinegar, stirring again. Taste, and add a splash of the oil from the tomatoes if desired.
Place a handful of spinach onto a serving plate and top with some of the pasta mixture. Garnish with crumbled feta and freshly ground pepper.
Alternatively, mix a few handfuls of spinach into the pasta mixture and place in the center of the picnic table!