A mom's journal of the sweet things in her life...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Green Goddess Pasta Salad

For Mother's Day this year, my sweet hubby supplied the breakfast. And by 'supplied', I mean he drove to A&W and bought me a Bacon 'n Egger. Yup, we're keeping it classy over here. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It was good and the clean up was fast. Which was also good because I spent the rest of the day in the kitchen cooking for the Mother's Day dinner for 12 that we had at our house.
I made this pasta salad as part of the meal. It wasn't even on the original menu, but I saw a version of it here and became inspired. Pasta salad is the perfect side dish for a BBQ, particularly when you want to ensure that you have enough food and variety for a large group of people. The problem is, most of the pasta salads I've had are dry and bland. The Green Goddess dressing used in this salad is far from bland and can be used to dress a variety of greens. It was perfect for this salad too - creamy and fresh, and packed full of flavor. Although it is mayonnaise-based, trust me when I say it is far from a typical mayonnaise-based pasta salad.
This salad is so versatile, you can add whatever vegetables you want, and I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier, but bacon would have been a welcomed addition too. I like to sautee my vegetables before adding them to the salad, I prefer them to be slightly cooked - but still crunchy - instead of raw. Plus they have more flavor after they've been sauteed in a tiny bit of oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Even if you're not a fan of pasta salad - you have got to try this Green Goddess Dressing!
Green Goddess Pasta Salad
1 lb of pasta, cooked to your preferred tenderness (unless making ahead, then stop cooking about 1 minute earlier to retain a little bite (I used Scoobi Doo pasta - have no idea why it's called that!)
1 lb of asparagus spears, cut into bite size pieces
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. oil
1 - 2 cups of crumbled feta
2 cups (or more) of Green Goddess dressing (recipe below)

Cook the pasta to desired tenderness. Rinse thoroughly under cold water to stop it freom cooking further. Put the cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl and then dress with enough dressing to coat the pasta. 
Chop your vegetables (whatever you have on hand) to bite-sized pieces. 
Sautee vegetables (in this case asparagus and red peppers) in a pan with a Tablespoon of oil, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. (Don't over cook the vegetables, just cook them till they've softened slightly but still retain their crispness.) Add vegetables to the pasta and dressing. Sprinkle with feta and mix. Taste and add more seasoning if required. (I didn't add anything.) Refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be made a day ahead. Be sure to taste your salad again after it's been chilled, and add a bit more dressing if required. (I added a little more so it was extra creamy.)

Basil Green Goddess Salad Dressing
(adapted from Chaos in the Kitchen, who adapted in from Barefoot Contessa)
1 cup basil leaves 
1 cup mayonnaise 
7 green onions
1 avocado
1/4 cup lemon juice 
2 cloves garlic 
2 tsp salt 
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup sour cream 
Combine mayo, basil, green onions, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add sour cream to the blender and blend just until combined. Chill dressing until serving.

1 comment:

  1. This looks really tasty! And I totally agree: pasta salads are a must for filling out a bbq menu. I've seen green goddess dressing many times, but have never made it...I will try it this weekend!


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