One of our favorite side dishes in the summer time is pasta salad. Dave absolutely loves it. I always make it to take to BBQ’s and unfortunately rarely come home with leftovers. It is also a great dish for me to bring places because it often serves as Alyssa’s meal because of her food allergy. Since I can’t know for sure if there are tree nuts in dishes other people make, I can’t let her eat them. So I always bring a side that can double as her meal. Pasta salad has carb, veggies, and protein. Perfect.
That doesn’t look like your average pasta salad though does it? Nope, its even better! We went to a Cinco de Mayo party and were asked to bring a dish to share. I searched the internet but didn’t find anything that jumped out at me. I also wanted to keep it healthy and not add an entire cup of olive oil or mayonnaise, like some recipes called for. I came up with this light, tangy, slightly sweet, vinegar based pasta and bean salad. I got quite a few compliments on the dish at the party. I let Alyssa try it before the party and she loved it. She asked if she could eat a bowl for lunch. I warned her that it was going to be her dinner as well. She said great and devoured it twice in one day. Ok… and I won’t lie, I did as well. Its got healthy carbs, protein in the beans, veggies in the corn and pepper, healthy fats in the avocado. Seriously an amazing summer meal in itself! Vegetarian, keeps well, healthy…have I talked it up enough? Ok…here it is!
Mexican Bean, Corn, and Pasta Salad:
6 oz whole wheat bow tie pasta
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 green onions, diced (white and green parts)
2 TB olive oil
2 TB red wine vinegar
1 TB plus 1 tsp white sugar
1 TB lemon juice
1 lime, juice and zest
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/16 tsp chili powder
1/16 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne, optional if you like your mexican with a little kick
1 avocado, diced
Cook pasta al dente. Run under cool water. In a large mixing bowl add cooked pasta, beans, corn, red pepper, tomatoes, and green onion.
In a separate small bowl mix the dressing together.
Pour dressing on salad and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight so the beans and pasta suck up the delicious dressing.
When ready to serve, place diced avocado on top.
If you have some chips on hand, dip them in there too…you won’t be sorry!
I think I may make a batch of the dressing alone to have for salads. It was something I hadn’t tasted before, and I’m glad I changed that!