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Artichoke Basil Pasta Salad

Isn’t it amazing how networking and keeping up with old friends is so much easier now with the internet, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Skype, or any other websites or programs that are available? A friend from elementary school, who I haven’t seen for ages but follow on Facebook and Twitter, asked me for a healthy easy pasta salad. Wow–would never have thought five years ago that I would be doing this: posting her request on my blog! Technology is cool, I can’t imagine living without my computer–and internet access!

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So this is a recipe of a pasta salad I made for a get together. Great for parties and large crowds, but you can easily scale back on the servings if you need to make less.

Ingredients:

  • 3 c dry whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 c grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 6-ounce can ripe black olives, cut in half
  • 1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, cut in 1/8th pieces
  • 8 oz block of fresh Mozzarella, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
  • Basil, a bunch, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 c olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tps salt
Live basil plant…smells so good in the kitchen!

Mix the first five ingredients in a large bow. Make the dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. Store in a jar in the refrigerator until ready to use. When ready to serve, add the basil leaves and Parmesan cheese, drizzle the dressing, and toss.

Simple, easy, colorful, delish!

Question for you foodies: a friend told me that whole wheat pasta doesn’t taste good cold in salads. Do you taste the difference between regular and whole wheat pasta? Do you think whole wheat is ok for hot pasta dishes but not cold salads? I got used to the whole wheat taste and texture and t doesn’t bother me. Curious to know what your preferences are.

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9 thoughts on “Artichoke Basil Pasta Salad”

  1. I -do- think whole wheat pasta gets a bit al dente (in a bad way to most) and chewy when cold. But it doesn’t bother me! I do think that complaint is common, though. The pasta salad is nearly the same one my mom always makes…and everyone loves 🙂

  2. Nour El-Zibdeh, RD

    Thanks Rebecca! Happy Mothers day to you too!

    The Food Hunter: thanks for the comment. I grew up eating regular pasta and now I only buy whole wheat. Give it a chance. Maybe you can mix some whole wheat with regular to get used to the taste.

    Nicole: you make a good point. Whole wheat pasta is more chewy: hot with gooey cheese is a good thing but cold is not as good. Thanks!

  3. This salad looks amazing nour! the flavors go together so well!

    Yeah, about the cold whole wheat pasta, to me, its not just the chewy factor, I do feel that the whole wheat pasta has a more nutty, woodsy taste to it, which stands out. additionally, i feel like the cold dressings don’t absorb as well into whole wheat pasta as they do in the regular pasta, so the flavors tend to be more bland.

  4. I think whole wheat pasta can be way too chewy sometimes. I am still trying to perfect the art of making whole wheat pasta (and gluten free, which is even more difficult!). I may try adding more oil in the water next time, maybe even 2-3 T! Great recipe 🙂

    1. Nour El-Zibdeh, RD

      Thank you Farah and Candid RD for the whole wheat pasta discussion! If you think of all whole grains (bulgur, freekeh, quinoa, brown rice, etc), they all have a nutty flavor. I like it, but maybe it’s a personal preference. And i can see it having too nutty flavor for some salads. Whole wheat pasta needs more cooking time, so I’m thinking maybe cook it longer, add more oil, add the dressing early on so it can absorb it… I kind of want to do an experiment now: make the same salad with the 2 types of pasta and compare.
      Good luck with the gluten-free!

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