Summer is the best time of year for all things salads! You can easily get overwhelmed with all the salad potential that comes with the summer harvest — so many vegetable combinations, so little time. And if you aren’t expanding past your sad salads of the same lettuce, a few standard vegetables, and sensible dressing, you are truly missing out.
Salads can be so much more than toppings on a bed of lettuce. Summer is the perfect time to keep a different one in the refrigerator each week to enjoy. This pasta summer salad can be a meal in itself or a light side to other summer favorites: backyard grilled meats, fresh fish or seafood.
Don’t take these ingredients as the gospel, feel free to substitute your favorites, add more, take away, or whatever makes you happy. If you don’t like bowtie pasta, choose a different type. Stick with chickpeas (in my opinion) as they hold up to the dressing and store in the refrigerator without getting soggy. Plus, they add a boost of protein if you decide to eat this alone.
In this go-round, I used bell pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes.
The rest of the ingredients shown are for the dressing — an avocado, lemon, garlic, basil, and dijon mustard, with salt and pepper.
Pro tip: seed your cucumber to help keep your salad from getting soggy. You don’t have to take this extra step, but you will notice a quality difference after a day or so in the refrigerator. The cucumber seeds quickly spoon out.
You’ll want about 2-3 cups of cooked pasta.
Cook and drain pasta.
Drain and rinse your can of chickpeas.
Chop your vegetables.
Add them all to a big bowl and salt and pepper to taste.
In a food processor, prepare the dressing.
Add in a 1/2 cup of chopped, fresh basil.
*A fresh avocado (peeled).
The juice of a lemon.
A tablespoon of minced garlic (or 2 fresh cloves).
A generous tablespoon of Dijon mustard.
Process till smooth.
Then add up to 1/4 cup water and process again.
*My avocado was not ripe enough and I ended up wasting a lot while peeling it. Since the avocado provides the creaminess, you desire in dressing. I added one teaspoon of olive oil. If you can’t find a fresh and ripe avocado, forgo it and look in your grocery for the prepared guacamole (It is already super smooth) and sub about 1/2 cup or one of the small guacamole containers.
Combine the dressing and the vegetables whit he pasta and chickpeas.
Yo! That is one pretty salad! It is light, yet filling. It is full of protein and fiber. It will be a big hit at your cookouts, and with your family. Seal it tight and it will last several days in your refrigerator. Best served chilled.