Oh you girls know how much I heart a pasta salad! I love them because they’re made in advance (great for entertaining!), they get better the longer they’re in the fridge (so great to make on Sunday night and enjoy during the week for lunch!), they are typically full of veggies (good for you!) and they’re easy! Win, win, WIN for the pasta salad!
For this little salad, I added some of my favorite flavor combinations: bleu cheese, dried cranberries and toasted pecans. You’re going to love it!
This recipe serves a crowd as a side dish and can be halved for smaller lunches during the week. I toss mine with a homemade honey mustard dressing but you could certainly use a store-bought kind.
1/2 pound of pasta (I used a whole wheat rotini)
1 English cucumber, chopped (or peel and chop a regular cucumber)
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
about six green onions, chopped
1½ cups of toasted pecan pieces
1½ cups of dried cranberries
about 3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese (more or less depending on how much you love it)
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
about a tablespoon of honey
about 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
salt and pepper
In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, add in your pasta and cook until al dente (about 6 to 7 minutes). As soon as your pasta is done cooking, drain the water and then cover the pasta in cold water (to stop the cooking process). Toss the pasta in the cold water until it’s nice and cool. Drain the cold water out.
In a large mixing bowl, add in your cooled pasta. Next, add in your chopped cucumber, bell pepper, green onions, toasted pecans, cranberries and bleu cheese. Set aside.
To whip up your dressing, whisk together your Dijon and honey in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in your EVOO until just combined. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour your dressing down over your bowl of pasta and veggies. Toss everything to coat. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Refrigerate at least 2 hours (preferably overnight) before serving. Garnish with a little extra bleu cheese if you like.
To get my pecans toasted, I place them in a clean, dry skillet and toast up about 3 or 4 minutes over medium-high heat. Easy!