Smoked Mozzarella and Penne Salad

"From the Whole Foods Market Cookbook. I buy this at the deli at my local Whole Foods a lot, mostly because if I make it, I will eat it ALL. Much better to walk up to the counter and say "One small cup of the mozzarella and penne, please!" Sometimes I find that the deli combines roasted AND fresh bell peppers, a nice added texture, and I'm not sure that they don't blanch their spinach leaves very quickly, as theirs always seem slightly wilted, although it doesn't call for that here. When I make this, my husband prefers that I use some regular mozzarella along with the smoked (just his personal taste) but I like the smoked. When cutting or grating fresh mozzarella, a useful tip is to pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up a bit--it will be much more receptive to the advances of your knife when it comes out!"
photo by Bonnie A. photo by Bonnie A.
photo by Bonnie A.
Ready In:




  • Process the dressing ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth.
  • Cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta in colander and run under cold water until well-cooled.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, spinach, roasted red peppers and smoked mozzarella.
  • Toss the salad with the dressing then serve.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This recipe, as written, (despite coming from the Whole Foods cook book) tastes in no way like what you buy from Whole Foods.<br/><br/>I managed to fix it so it is indistinguishable from Whole Foods version.<br/><br/>Use the following steps.<br/><br/>Twice as much pasta. (essential or it becomes overwhelmed with mozz)<br/>Quite a bit more bell pepper. (optional)<br/><br/>MUCH more mayo. I used Best Foods mayo and, basically, kept adding extra tablespoons of the stuff and mixing it in until it tasted right. As others have mentioned, this is overhwelmingly vinegary as is. I would estimate I use as much as 2 and a half times as much mayo as called for in the recipe to get it right. This isn't as bad as it sounds since I use twice as much pasta.
  2. I used more pasta, 1/2 the vinegar, and added about 1/8 cup EVOO, instead. I blanched the spinach.I used smoked provolone instead of mozz.<br/>LOVED IT!!! Exactly like WF deli. I would use less cheese next time. It didn't need the full 8 oz.
  3. Delicious. I buy this all of the time at whole foods and save a lot of money making it myself. I do wilt the spinach, and add sundried tomatos.
  4. while this taste nothing like the pasta from whole foods it is still good i doubled everything in the recipe except the vinegar and using fresh roasted peppers is better than the store bought jar ones
  5. I make this recipe often. I reduce the vinegar to 2 T. The ¼ cup is just too much.


This is a picture of half of me in my kitchen (wearing some pretty amazing shoes, I'll have you know). I feel very strongly about food and how it affects us...I think of it as medicine...the food you eat can be just as effective for the maintenance of your health as any prescription drug! And who wouldn't want to use nutrition as a way to avoid disease so that you end up taking less pills later in life? Health was my motivation for giving up dairy and eggs...and, although I don't make it a habit to go around shouting at people that they should eat this and avoid that, it does make me happy when people make the right choices for their health! Hmmmmm. pet peeves? If I had a dollar for every time since I gave up meat that someone asked me, "Well, what DO you eat, anyway?" I could retire to a tropical island! I guess it bothers me that people are so ignorant of the choices that are available to them. And it shocks me that there are people out there who have no clue how to read a label, deciding whether something has too much fat or sodium (or whatever) for them to consume! I knew a woman who thought her potato chips were healthy because "it said no trans-fats" on the bag! I always dreamed of becoming a dietician so I could help that kind of person, but have been disinclined to pursue it because of the time to earn the degree, the low pay most of them receive and the general feeling that no one will listen to me, anyway! For fun, I like to hang out with my dogs, cook for people (especially veg people!), read, make jewelry, watch British comedy on TV, go out shopping with friends at places like junk stores and ethnic markets, and tons of other stuff! I stay pretty busy! Fave restaurant...Sage in Chapel Hill...if you live around here, I encourage you to check it out! Beautiful food, great atmosphere, even if it is on the small side, and the proprietor is the most gorgeous man! And everything on the menu is vegetarian or vegan...I feel so free when I walk in's amazing! For food shopping, I like Whole Foods the best. Trader Joe's is not as veg friendly, but they have good prices on many staples that I use. Some of the mainstream stores are even catching on...we have a Food Lion near us way out here in the boonies that has a whole natural foods area that allows me to purchase many vegan specialty items without making a long drive to town! Love that! is great for non-perishable foods...they have that subscribe and save program for many grocery items and it is a real savings! I subscribe to numerous items...agave nectar, vegetable broth, and quite a few more! Check it out! <img src="">
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