Vegetable Pasta Salad

In traditional pasta salad, vegetables are usually an afterthought.  You might add a little red pepper for color, or throw in some diced tomatoes or olives to add some bulk.  But in this recipe adapted from Budget Bytes, the vegetables are really the star of the show.  I used broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, and carrots but the possibilities are endless.  I wanted the broccoli, squash, and zucchini to be just slightly cooked, but you can leave them raw if you prefer a little more crunch.

The pasta, vegetables, and beans are tossed in a creamy Ranch-style dressing.  The original recipe suggests buying buttermilk, rather than making it using a splash of vinegar.  I agree that store bought buttermilk has a much thicker consistency which would make the dressing richer, but I didn’t have any on hand so I made my own with non-fat milk.  The original recipe also included fresh parsley, and I think any freshly chopped herbs would brighten up this salad, so next time I’ll try that as well.  Still, this recipe made a large bowl which I enjoyed for several meals.



Vegetable Pasta Salad

3 c. dry whole wheat rotini
3-4 c. broccoli florets
1 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly
2 c. shredded carrots
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. light mayonnaise
2 T Dijon mustard
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t celery salt
1/2 t. black pepper

Add whole wheat pasta to boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add broccoli, and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add yellow squash and zucchini to the pot, and cook for 1 minute more.  Drain the pasta and vegetables and rinse in cool water.  Allow to drain for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, mix pasta, vegetables, shredded carrots, and beans.  In a small bowl, mix buttermilk, mayonnaise, mustard and spices.  Toss dressing with salad.  Allow to chill before serving.

-Adapted from Budget Bytes

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