This pasta salad is perfect because it tastes like summer. I wanted to recreate a creamy ranch style dressing with a healthy twist, and this salad came together quite well in all of it’s creamy, herby, cool, and fresh, glory. This summer pasta salad is great to bring to a potluck, or summer bbq. Growing up, I loved cold macoroni salad, and ate way too much of it until I realized how much junk was in the store bought stuff. Thankfully, this summer salad satisfied my deepest, darkest creamy pasta salad desires, while providing my body with healthy nutrients. Win-win.
So, to make this perfect summer pasta salad rich and creamy, I used an avocado and some yogurt. The herbs I used were fresh parsley and dill to emulate the flavors of ranch dressing. Into the pasta salad, I incorporated beans, and some raw veggies for an extra crunch and freshness. Let’s just say, this pasta is so good I made it twice in one week.
As for the pasta in this summer salad, I usually go with brown rice pasta to keep my dishes gluten free. I have tried a few brands, and honestly a lot of them are not that good. But the one I really, really like is Tinkyada brown rice pasta from Whole Foods. It holds up like the regular stuff, and tastes just as good. My entire wheat-loving family has even switched over to this kind of pasta. The one thing I will say is that after a four days or so it gets kind of stiff, almost like the way leftover rice does. You can make this recipe with whatever kind of pasta you would like, and if you are making it farther in advance to bring to an event rather than to eat soon after, you may prefer regular whole wheat pasta.
- For the Dressing
- ¼ cup chopped Parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped Dill
- 1 tbsp chopped Chives
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 ripe Avocado
- 1 cup creamy plain Yogurt
- 1-2 tbsp Lemon Juice (1/2 of a fresh lemon)
- For the Pasta
- 1 package of Pasta (I used spirals)
- 2 cups Broccoli
- 1 can red Kidney Beans
- 1 red Pepper
- ½ cup halved Cherry Tomatoes
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water, set aside.
- In the meantime, cut broccoli into small pieces and steam for 4-6 minutes until slightly cooked yet crunchy. Cut the pepper into rough chunks, halve the tomatoes,and rinse and drain the beans. Add veggies and beans in with cooked cooled pasta, and refrigerate.
- To make the dressing, place all dressing ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Dress pasta and veggies with this dressing, and serve chilled.