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
876
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
57g
81%
Sugar
43g
48%
Saturated Fat
36g
100%
Cholesterol
3mg
1%
Carbohydrate, by difference
85g
65%
Protein
9g
20%
Vitamin A, RAE
41µg
6%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
2mg
3%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
54µg
60%
Calcium, Ca
110mg
11%
Choline, total
9mg
2%
Fiber, total dietary
6g
24%
Folate, total
60µg
15%
Iron, Fe
3mg
17%
Magnesium, Mg
67mg
21%
Niacin
2mg
14%
Phosphorus, P
216mg
31%
Selenium, Se
8µg
15%
Sodium, Na
654mg
44%
Water
83g
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.