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Primavera Pasta Salad

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Primavera Pasta Salad is a vibrant and fresh dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Packed with colorful vegetables and tossed in a zesty dressing, this pasta salad is a great addition to any meal or can be enjoyed on its own. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of making Primavera Pasta Salad, provide helpful cooking notes, and offer variations to suit different tastes.

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Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 1/2 lb favorite pasta
  • 2 cups packaged broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup roasted red pepper, sliced or chopped
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped olives
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or vegan cheese
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced, for serving
  • Red pepper flakes, for serving

For the Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

Step 1: Cook the Pasta and Vegetables

  1. Cook the Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  2. Blanch the Vegetables:
    • In the same pot of boiling water, blanch the broccoli florets and frozen peas for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender-crisp. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Dressing

  1. Mix the Dressing:
    • In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, dried basil, dried parsley, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Add the Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and agave nectar. Whisk until well combined.
  2. Add the Olive Oil:
    • Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified and smooth.

Step 3: Assemble the Salad

  1. Combine Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, blanched broccoli, peas, chopped carrots, halved cherry tomatoes, roasted red pepper, and chopped olives.
  2. Toss with Dressing:
    • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until all the ingredients are evenly coated.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Add Cheese and Avocado:
    • Sprinkle the grated Parmesan or vegan cheese over the salad. Gently fold in the diced avocado.
  2. Garnish and Serve:
    • Garnish with red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve the Primavera Pasta Salad chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Pasta: Any short pasta shape like rotini, penne, or fusilli works well for this salad.
  • Blanching: Blanching the vegetables helps retain their bright color and crisp texture.

Variations:

  • Protein Addition:
    • Add grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu to make the salad more filling.
  • Different Vegetables:
    • Feel free to add other vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or asparagus.
  • Spicy Kick:
    • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce to the dressing for some heat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this salad a few hours ahead of time. Store it in the refrigerator and toss it again before serving.

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2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Note that the avocado may brown slightly, but it will still be safe to eat.

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3. Can I use a different type of cheese?

Yes, you can use feta, mozzarella, or any other cheese you prefer.

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4. What can I serve with Primavera Pasta Salad?

This salad pairs well with grilled meats, fish, or as a side dish for a barbecue. It can also be enjoyed on its own as a light meal.

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5. Can I use fresh herbs instead of dried?

Yes, you can use fresh herbs. Use about 3 times the amount of fresh herbs as dried.

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Primavera Pasta Salad is a fresh and flavorful dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its vibrant vegetables and zesty dressing, this salad is sure to be a hit. Whether you’re making it for a picnic, a barbecue, or a light lunch, this recipe is easy to follow and full of delicious flavors. Give this Primavera Pasta Salad recipe a try and enjoy a refreshing and delightful meal. Happy cooking!