When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

I planted our vegetable garden mid-week last week, and by the weekend, there were already tiny, eager green shoots pushing their way through the soil towards the sun. I never stop being amazed by this process each spring, the sudden bursting forth of potential encouraged by the combined efforts of me and Mother Nature.

The warm months are my most favourite time of the year for food. Every week there is something new in the gardens or at the farmers' market for us to enjoy, and it seems almost effortless to put together meals that are full of appealing colours and flavours. Today I'm sharing a recipe for a simple, hearty pasta salad that I often make to serve a crowd during the fun-filled summer months.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad 
(adapted from this recipe from Chatelaine magazine)

3 generous cups dry fusili pasta (I used a gluten-free brown rice version)
1 540ml can romano beans, drained and rinsed
half of each of a sweet red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
the zest of one small lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/8 tsp sea salt

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold running water until cooled. Allow pasta to sit in the colander for a few minutes to drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and salt. Add the cooked pasta, romano beans, sweet peppers, olives, and parsley to the bowl and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later.

This colourful salad is really easy to prepare and is perfect make-ahead side dish or main for all kinds of summer eating: potlucks, family barbecues, picnics, a quick and healthy lunch on the go. (Simply double the recipe for a larger crowd.) Enjoy the coming season of delicious food and happy times with family and friends!

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