Recipe by vadapao
This recipe is the winner of Recipe4Living's Super Spring Spinach Recipe Contest! This whole wheat pasta salad has a rich mix of flavors and a tang that brings wonderful body to chicken, fish and steak as a side dish or as a light lunch with crusty bread. (I saw this recipe and had to post it...here is the link of original page: www.recipe4living.com/.../Recipe.aspx?id=61004)
- 1 lb whole wheat penne
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 (8 ounce) bag Baby Spinach (washed and drained)
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 medium seedless cucumber, lightly peeled & diced
- 12 ounces fresh ciliegine mozzarella cheese, drained and cut in half
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 0.5 (12 ounce) jar roasted red peppers packed in oil, chopped drained and reserve oil
- 1 bulb of garlic, roasted and cooled (directions below)
- 1⁄4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
- 2 fresh lemons (juice of)
- 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil leaf
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground cracked pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup roasted hot pepper oil
Directions See How It's Made
- Wash spinach and set aside to drain well (tear apart large leaves and remove thick stems).
- Roast 1 bulb of garlic in a 400-degree oven.
- Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact.
- Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the bulb cut side up on a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, drizzle with about 2 Tbs. olive oil making sure to cover each clove and then bring the sides of the foil up and seal all around.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until cloves are soft and caramel colored. Let cool until you can touch it with your hand and squeeze out each clove into a cup or dish…let cool while you make the salad.
- Make pasta according to box, cook to “al dente” about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to completely cool the pasta and stop the cooking process.
- Turn out into a large bowl, add cucumber, tomatoes, onions, shredded carrots and roasted red peppers, add the spinach and the fresh mozzarella and toss lightly.
- Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a blender EXCEPT the two oils, combine the two oils together and then slowly drizzle in the oil mixture while the blender is running and blend completely. Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss well to coat.
- Chill overnight to serve the next day this will allow the flavors to blend and will slightly wilt the spinach.
- Serve along side grilled chicken, fish or as a light lunch with fresh crusty bread.