Spring Pasta Salad with Cilantro-Walnut Pesto

Spring Pasta Salad with Cilantro-Walnut Pesto

Enjoy this light, refreshing – and slightly different – pasta salad. It will look familiar, but taste surprising, in a very subtle way—try it hot or cold. Be sure to make the pesto well ahead of time for optimum flavor.

4
Servings
1172
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

For the Pasta:

  • 8  Ounces  pasta (fusilli or cavatappi
  • 4-6  Ounces  fresh mozzarella, in small dice (OPTIONAL)
  • 1/2  Teaspoon  salt
  • minced carrot, cucumber, fennel (OPTIONAL)
  • 1/2  Cup  cilantro-walnut pesto (recipe follows)
  • 1  Teaspoon  red wine vinegar
  • 8-10  snow peas, trimmed and halved diagonally
  • black pepper to taste
  • small red bell pepper, brunoise or very small dice
  • 1-2  Tablespoon  extra virgin olive oil

For the Cilantro-Walnut Pesto

  • 1  Cup  walnut halves
  • 1  Cup  firmly packed cilantro (leaves and smaller stems)
  • chopped walnuts (OPTIONAL TOPPING)
  • 1/2  Teaspoon  salt
  • 6  Tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
  • halved cherry tomatoes (OPTIONAL TOPPING)
  • minced fresh cilantro (OPTIONAL TOPPING)
  • 1/2  Teaspoon  minced or crushed garlic

Directions

For the Pasta:

1)    Cook the pasta according the package instructions. Drain, then toss with olive oil, salt, 4 tablespoons of the pesto, and the vinegar. Stir to blend thoroughly, let it cool to room temperature.
2)    Stir in the vegetables, followed by the mozzarella and black pepper to taste.
3)    Serve warm or at room temperature – or chill, and serve cold. Top it with additional pesto, if you like, plus any of the other optional toppings.

For the Cilantro-Walnut Pesto

1)     Place the walnuts in a blender or the small bowl of a food processor, and grind to a coarse meal.
2)     Add the garlic, cilantro, and salt, and continue to run the machine until it becomes a uniform green paste (some light walnut texture is fine).
3)     Run the machine while you drizzle in the oil. Transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid, and refrigerate until use.

Makes 1/2 cup

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
105g
100%
Sugar
19g
21%
Saturated Fat
19g
79%
Cholesterol
63mg
21%
Carbohydrate, by difference
52g
40%
Protein
9g
20%
Vitamin A, RAE
37µg
5%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
1mg
1%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
30µg
33%
Calcium, Ca
67mg
7%
Choline, total
59mg
14%
Fiber, total dietary
2g
8%
Folate, total
49µg
12%
Iron, Fe
2mg
11%
Magnesium, Mg
24mg
8%
Niacin
2mg
14%
Phosphorus, P
120mg
17%
Selenium, Se
14µg
25%
Sodium, Na
445mg
30%
Water
71g
3%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

Pasta Salad Shopping Tip

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Pasta Salad Cooking Tip

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.