Picnic Perfect Healthy Pasta Salad
The warming weather brings us into picnic and BBQ season once again! During this time of year, I am always searching for light, tasty recipes that are picnic-perfect. There's a huge park just up the road from my house in downtown Salt Lake City. I dream of long lunches or evening dinners packed in our picnic backpack, maybe sneaking a little wine in for good measure. Long meals shared with loved ones under the bright blue sky make summers that much better. I love everything about a picnic.
I am sharing a recipe that puts a healthy spin on a classic cook-out staple, pasta salad. Pasta salads are a huge part of outdoor gatherings of all sizes, but its great to have a recipe that off-sets these carb-heavy dishes with some fresh vegetables.
This recipe calls for green beans and arugula, but feel free to get creative with the veggies and greens you choose—summer squash, zucchini, spinach…the possibilities are endless! This recipe takes about 40 minutes, but most of the time is spent allowing the cooked pasta and beans to refrigerate. Enjoy!
Picnic Perfect Pasta Salad
Serving size: 4 – 6
- ½ pound green beans
- ½ lb whole wheat pasta shells
- ½ lb regular pasta shells
- 3-4 handfuls arugula
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- freshly ground pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- Wash green beans and remove tips.
- Drizzle a bit of oil into a skillet and heat on high. After 1 minute, add the green beans and blacken.
- While you’re waiting for the green beans to blacken, boil water for pasta and cook until al dente. Refrigerate cooked beans and pasta separately for ½ hour.
- Meanwhile, add one teaspoon of lemon juice into a liquid cup measure and squeeze ¼ cup of lemon juice on top.
- Add the salt and pepper, mixing with a fork.
- Next, add the ½ cup of oil gradually, mixing constantly.
- After ½ hour of refrigeration, combine the beans and noodles in a large serving bowl and toss with the lemon juice mixture.
- Crumble the cheese over top, and sprinkle in the walnuts. Toss until evenly mixed. Refrigerate, and add the arugula just before serving.
Recipe inspired by Martha Stewart's String Bean, Arugula, and Pasta Salad