Simple Pasta Salad

Pasta salad with fresh tomatoes, peppers and greens, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and basil

Pasta salad with fresh tomatoes, peppers and greens, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and basil

This dish is simple, fresh and packed with flavor. A knockout. Some might call it a knockout.

Servings: 8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce box of rigatoni or any other rigged pasta
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 in cubes
  • 1 bunch swiss chard or kale, stems removed, cut into large squares or torn
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup basil, chiffonade
  • Parmesan cheese

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp good balsamic (go for the aged stuff – if you don’t have any that’s ok, add it to your wish list)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp olive oil or oil blend (I like half olive oil, half vegetable)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. On high heat, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling, cook pasta per package instructions. Should be approximately 11 – 13 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile begin dressing. In a small bowl mix together half the balsamic, garlic, honey, lemon and lemon zest. Once this is combined, slowly stream in about half the oil and whisk until emulsified. After the dressing comes together, add the rest of the balsamic and whisk together with remaining oil.
  3. Drain pasta and place in serving bowl.
  4. Toss with dressing while hot (this is an important step as the pasta will absorb more of the dressing).
  5. Add in swiss chard or kale (or both!), tomatoes and red peppers*
  6. Refrigerate and let marinate for 30 minutes.
  7. Before serving, toss in basil and finish with Parmesan cheese. If pasta looks a little dry, finish with more oil and vinegar. Should be served cold or room temperature.

*If you are planning to make this dish ahead of time, add the greens approximately 30 minutes before serving or else they will begin to wilt. It’s important that they marinate with the dressing for a little bit to help reduce some bitterness, but too long and they will become soggy.

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