Now that it’s nearing mid-August, I feel summer slowly slipping away, but I’m not going to let it go before I make more summer vegetable salads. I gave this family-favorite whole grain rotini salad a facelift with the added Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. It adds so much flavor, healthy omega-9-rich olive oil, vitamin C packed sun-dried tomatoes and cholesterol-lowering garlic. Pesto is high in calories, but for all the aforementioned benefits, you can’t beat it for busting the flavor-meter! This recipe can stand alone as a main dish due to the high protein content of the pasta along with the cheese and vegetables; I combine it with fresh cut summer fruit for a satisfying, simple summer meal.
I’m a fan of Barilla pastas available at most grocery stores. The yellow box (pictured below) is a multi-grain mix of spelt, barley, wheat, oats, lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed; I really like the taste. The blue box Whole Grain variety (also pictured below) is a whole grain blend of wheat and oat fiber with no added enriched flours. Both provide 5-6 grams of fiber per 2 oz serving. That’s a lot!
- Fresh Vegetable Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- 10-12 ounces whole grain rotini (I used Barilla Whole Grain)
- 3/4 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3/4 cup broccoli florets, blanched and rinsed in cold water
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (bottled in oil)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese,plus 2 Tbsp for garnish
- 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts, plus 2 Tbsp for garnish
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water; allow to cool. Place in medium bowl. Add tomatoes, broccoli and red onion; toss to combine.
- For the Pesto: Combine all ingredients except olive oil in container of food processor fitted with a metal blade. Cover and process until finely diced. Pour olive oil slowly through the open chute with the motor running to incorporate the oil.
- Add the pesto to the pasta mixture; stir to combine. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Top with additional shredded Parmesan cheese and toasted pinenuts.