This room-temperature salad is perfect for a quick evening meal or buffet table (just double the recipe). Feel free to substitute a red bell pepper for the yellow, and walnuts for the pine nuts to make it your own. Finish it off with a full-bodied extra virgin olive oil and your best balsamic vinegar to really amplify the flavor!
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4 ounces whole wheat penne
1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and julienned
5 ounces baby or mature arugula, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, and let cool slightly.
- While the pasta is cooking, simmer the asparagus until just crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Refresh under cold water, pat dry and place in a large salad bowl. Add the bell pepper, arugula, tomatoes and basil.
- Make the vinaigrette by mixing the oil, vinegar, garlic, shallot, mustard and 1 tablespoon of water in a small cup. Add salt (if using) and pepper, and whisk to combine well. Toss the pasta with the vegetables, and dress with the vinaigrette. Serve at room temperature, garnished with pine nuts.
Nutrition information (per serving)
Makes 4 servings
Total fat: 13 g
Saturated fat: 1.5 g
Protein: 8 g
Carbohydrate: 34 g
Dietary fiber: 6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 35 mg
Potassium: 530 mg
Source: Cleveland Clinic Healthy Heart Lifestyle Guide and Cookbook (© 2007 Broadway Books).