Vinaigrette Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad & Fish by Pastarella Maker
Pasta Salad & Fish, a photo by Pastarella Maker on Flickr.

The other night I decided fish topped with black bean-corn salsa would be on that night’s dinner menu, but I only had a vague idea of what I’d use as sides to complete this meal. One of my ideas was to do a play on this Everyday Food Broccoli, Chickpea and Cherry Tomato salad since DH’s not fond of chickpeas. The other was going to be chunks of grilled baguette with rubbed garlic and lightly buttered. Nice, right?

Pasta Salad by Pastarella Maker
Pasta Salad, a photo by Pastarella Maker on Flickr.

By the time the end of yesterday rolled around, DH decided he needed to stay late so he was going to drop me off at home so I could hit the grocery store across the street before starting dinner. By the time I got going, I decided I would sub out the chickpeas for slices of cukes from my FIL’s garden. I prepped it all and stored it in the fridge to assemble once DH finally got home.

He worked longer than I thought, but was as it turns out, he arrived home five minutes before the fish was to come out of the oven, so I jumped up and started the dressing for the side salad and to prep the bread for the oven toasting.

In my haste, I forgot all about the cuke slices as well as the bread chunks all together. Whoops. Oh, well. This side salad turned out beautifully anyway with its lovely vinaigrette taste that made both of us think of summer time picnics where the coleslaw was a huge draw. So nostalgic. The meal, as it was, turned out to be so filling, the MIA bread chunks weren’t missed at all.

Since there is only two of us, and I had to use up all of my broccoli in one go, I ended up with a lot of leftover salad. Without missing a beat, I took out the bowl of cooked tubetti pasta from the fridge I was going to use in a casserole or frittata on the weekend, and made another batch of the dressing to create a gorgeous and very satisfying cold (or room temperature) summer pasta salad.

This will be a perfect companion to any other meat dish I make for dinner this long weekend, or simply on its own in a bowl for a quick, filling lunch. The fiber content in this one salad alone blows me away. So, if you need to bulk up your fiber intake for heath concerns, give this salad a go!

[Recipe via MSL’s Everyday Food]

  • 1 pound broccoli, separated into florets (4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar (I used white vinegar and it turned out nicely)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Wash the broccoli well, dry off and cut into florets and medallians as you cut up the stalks, taking care all of it will steam cook in the same amount of time. Finely dice up the red onion and place in big bowl to start the dressing. At this point, I added roughly the same amount of finely sliced red onion chunks to the salad for overall pleasing colour and texture. Cut the tomatoes in half and set aside till after the broccoli is done steaming.

In the bowl with the diced onion, add the other ingredients to make the dressing, whisking well the incorporate the oil with the Dijon and vinegar. When that’s blended well, add the broccoli and top with the tomato halves as well as the red onion slices. Toss all of this in the bowl and serve immediately, or at room temperature, or chill for use later as a cold side salad.

Some swap outs to the chickpeas if you’re not into them is tuna from a can, small pasta or cubes of any mild cheese. Really, you can play around and make this salad your own but adding more or stripping it down to just the broccoli. It’s your kitchen, it’s you’re choice, Chef. 🙂

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