Tri-Colore Pasta Salad w/ Homemade Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette

If you haven’t noticed by now I love bold flavors and especially onions and garlic. This pasta salad recipe is a whole new take on the traditional Italian cold pasta dish. No more boring packet vinaigrettes or raw veggies in your salad. Plus this is a great way to have a fast lunch at home or at work, because you can make it on a Sunday night, store it in the fridge, and its ready to take to work in an air-tight container! Your co-workers will be jealous of your robust, garlicky fresh pasta salad thats full of color and flavor. 

The key to this recipe is combining the pasta with the ingredients while its warm, so all the flavors get to mingle and marinate in the fridge. What you’re left with is a flavorful and satisfying lunch! Oh, by the way its called “Tri-Colore” because it represents the Italian flag- red, green and white!

  • 1 cup mini bow-tie pasta boiled al dente  (or mini cavatelli, or fusilli- something that’s small and has grooves)
  • 1 small onion- diced in a similar size to the pasta
  • 1/2 green bell pepper- diced same size as the onions
  • 1 roma tomato- diced same size as onions/peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic- crushed and minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp red crushed pepper (or put to taste)
  • 1/2 cup mini fresh mozzarella pearls (just cubed into small pieces or use tofu cubes as vegan sub)
  • Parmagiana cheese– for garnish or vegan substitute)
  • PAM olive oil flavored cooking spray (or regular PAM)
  • 1/4 (about) Homemade Sun-dried Tomato Basil Vinaigrette (Recipe BELOW)

1. Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and spray with PAM, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and boil till al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. In a medium pan spray with PAM and add oil, set over medium-low flame. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, red crushed pepper and Italian seasoning (crush seasoning in your palm before adding to release the flavors). Saute until cooked through and onions are caramelized. Add the warm veggies to the warm pasta and mix lightly. Add the vinaigrette and mix until well combined. Add mozzarella cheese, mix and put in the fridge to cool.

Homemade Sun-dried Tomato Basil Vinaigrette:

  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes- from a jar packed in oil
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 clove garlic- crushed
  • 1 tbsp dried basil leaves (or 1/2 cup fresh basil would be amazing!)
  • 1 tbsp red win vinegar (I use Colavita)
  • 1/4 (about) olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • coarse black pepper
  • red crushed pepper- to taste

1. Add sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, vinegar, salt, pepper, red crushed pepper and capers to a blender/food processor. Pulse until well combined and chopped up.

2. While grinding on a constant low, drizzle in the olive oil to create an emulsion. Grind until well combined. Taste for salt.

Nutrition Info: This dish provides a good amount of healthy carbs (pasta), protein and calcium (cheese) and healthy fat from the olive oil and cheese (fresh mozzarella is one of the healthiest forms of fresh cheese because it has low sodium and is relatively low in fat). Also, parmagiana cheese is approximately 1.5 grams of fat for 1 tbsp! Yummy!


7 thoughts on “Tri-Colore Pasta Salad w/ Homemade Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette

  1. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

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