A tasty dish to enjoy throughout summer and super easy to assemble when you stock your kitchen with pasta (choose from a wide variety of different shapes, sizes and ingredients including gluten-free), pick up fresh herbs and veggies from the market or garden and prepare pesto ahead to keep on hand.
I like the natural sweetness that carrot tops add to the pesto, which compliments the peppery arugula in the salad. A lunchtime or dinner salad that’s easy to create with a variety of ingredients and customize to your taste — add in or subtract your favorite seasonal veggies, substitute garbanzo beans with cannelloni or black.
PESTO SUPER-GRAIN PASTA SALAD
Serves 6 – 8
8 oz. Supergrain (gluten-free) pasta, penne
7-8 oz. Arugula & Walnut Pesto*
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 15 oz. can organic garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1-1/2 cups baby arugula, rinsed and dry
1/4 cup walnut pieces
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (use a vegetable peeler)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
*CARROT TOP & WALNUT PESTO
2 1/2 cups carrot top greens, washed, discard thick stems
3-4 fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp shelled walnuts
1 Tsp sea salt
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 small garlic clove, peeled and chopped
4 – 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Prepare pesto: combine carrot top greens, basil, walnuts, salt, cheese and garlic in a food processor and pulse; while motor running, slowly pour a thin and steady stream of olive oil until pesto is smooth and pureed. Store pesto in an airtight glass container, in refrigerator for 5 – 7 days (or freezer for 3 months).
Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain under cool water and rinse; transfer to a large bowl. Stir in pesto, then add onion, beans, vinegar, tomatoes, parsley and arugula. Toss well; season lightly with salt and generously with pepper. Chill salad in refrigerator for up to 6 hours.
Before serving top with walnut pieces and cheese shavings.