Cold Pasta Salad Recipe

Cold Pasta Salad Recipe Recipe

Cold pasta salad is usually made with mayonnaise dressing. One member of my family is allergic to eggs, so this recipe suits her perfectly; as no eggs are used. Even though there are no eggs, I wanted the dressing to be creamy and flavorful, so I mixed in goat cheese with the usual vinaigrette ingredients. For a little extra kick, I added onions cooked down in white balsamic vinegar.

I used cork-screw-shaped pasta, but any other shape such as bowties, shells or penne would work as well. In addition to the diced tomatoes and steamed zucchini, I added black lentils and pan-seared tofu to give this vegetarian pasta dish some protein. Cooking does not always have to be complicated. If you have fresh ingredients and a lot of love, you’ll have a wonderful meal. Bon appétit!
 

Ingredients

Yields: 8 servings

1 (16-ounce) package cork-screw pasta, cooked and cooled to room temperature
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1-½ tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ cup goat cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon dried basil
8 tablespoons olive oil
2-½ teaspoons Kosher salt
1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu
3/4 cup packed steamed French lentils, separated
5 ripe grape tomatoes, coarsely diced
4 zucchini, sliced and steamed
1 tablespoon Tabasco (optional)
½ teaspoon black pepper


Directions

Pickling the onions: Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, add the white onions and bring to a boil and let simmer until it reduces by half. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Making the creamy pasta salad dressing:

In a mini-blender (or small food processor), combine the pickled onions, white balsamic reduction, honey,  mustard, dried basil and Tabasco (if used). Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until blended. (you might want to add 2 to 3 tablespoons water for a smoother flow). Add the goat cheese and slowly drizzle 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.

Prepping the tofu: Cut the tofu into ½-inch cubes. In a small pan , heat the remaining oil. Pan-sear the pieces of tofu on all  sides until slightly golden and puffy. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Once the tofu pieces are cool enough to handle, transfer the tofu to the salad dressing. Set aside.

Assembly time:

Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add the tofu, salad dressing, zucchini, tomatoes and lentils. Toss well. Adjust seasoning.

Serve at room temperature.

Bon appétit!


Tips

I've recently switched to a new tofu brand that I'm very fond of. It's freshly made daily; in San Jose. It's a very little shop but everything is very good. The factory makes all kinds of tofu textures (silken tofu, fried tofu, sweetened and unsweetened soy milk and tofu dessert). Make sure to ask for the firm type. I found two locations in the Bay Area: Vinh Khang Tofu, 141 Dixon Road, Milpitas, CA 95035 and 2955 Senter Road #80, San Jose, Ca 95111. I also recommend the cold tofu pudding dessert, called dàu hũ nước đường lạnh (just drizzle with coconut milk and sweet ginger syrup. It's delicious!).

You don't have to use white balsamic vinegar (you can find it at Trader Joe's) but for the aesthetic of the dish, a white vinegar (or lemon juice) is preferable.

I used store-bought steamed black lentils from Trader Joe's.

If you're a pasta lover, check out my other pasta dishes.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on September 19, 2011.


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