April 14, 2007

Cheap/Tasty: Pasta Salad with Vinaigrette


Because of my weird hours, I often cook for myself in bulk. Around the middle of last summer I began to get tired of the sauteed chicken breast combinations I'd been coming up with (rosemary/olive oil, chipotle, plain, garlic), so I went to the Union Square Greenmarket in search of something inspiring.

Luscious vegetables lead me to throw together this incredibly healthy and inexpensive meatless pasta salad (did I mention the robust flavors?). It's evolved over the year to its most recent incarnation last week, when I threw about every vegetable I could find into it:

Serves 4 to 6 as a main course

1lb pasta
1 lb (about 2 bunches) kale, tough stems and center ribs cut off and discarded
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch radishes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 10-oz package frozen petit peas
4-oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 16-oz can chick peas, rinsed, drained, and picked over

Simple mustard vinaigrette (recipe below)
--
Boil pasta in salted water, according to package instruction. While pasta boils, cook peas according to package instructions and prepare kale based on this recipe, using these reduced quantities of olive oil and the garlic (and ignoring, as I did, the other greens.). While that cooks, chop the radishes, bell pepper and onion.

Drain cooked pasta and place in a large bowl. Top with cooked kale, chopped vegetables, cooked peas, goat cheese, and chick peas. Top with mustard vinaigrette (recipe still below).

And finally, the simple mustard vinaigrette recipe:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinaiger
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dijon mustard

All in all, it's a great weekday recipe: healthy, fast, and filling. Oh, and if you're a unabashed carnivore, throw up to 1 lb cooked sausage in there. Or maybe some chicken, or steak. You can get your meat in there, don't worry.

1 comment:

Meghan said...

EVERYONE should make this pasta salad, it is perfectly balanced, beautifully colored, and easy to make tons of it (though not too quick, as there is lots of chopping). Whatever, skip wins. I've put in both diced honey-glazed ham and sliced kielbasa, both good.