RECIPE: Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Source: adapted from www.whfoods.com

This tasty pasta salad is a wonderful way to celebrate Springtime! Asparagus is a member of the lily family, and the portion we consume is actually a shoot from an underground crown that can produce for up to twenty years! Asparagus is rich in folic acid – a B vitamin necessary to reduce birth defects and keep the heart healthy. It also is a good source of potassium (making it an ideal component to a post-workout meal) and contains inulin – a fiber that is used as fuel by the friendly bacteria in our digestive system (like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli). Asparagus is best enjoyed in April and May, when the tender stalks are in season.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ lb whole wheat fusilli pasta
  • 1 large bunch asparagus cut into 1 inch lengths, (remove fibrous bottoms and discard)
  • ½ medium red or sweet onion, minced
  • ½ basket cherry tomatoes, quartered (squeeze gently to remove seeds)
  • 5-6 medium cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
  • 3 TBS chopped fresh basil
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, cracked black pepper to taste
  • *optional – 4 oz reduced fat feta cheese

Directions: Cook pasta according to instructions on package. While pasta is cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients. Place everything but asparagus in a bowl and set aside. When pasta is about 3 minutes from being done, add asparagus to cooking pasta. (If asparagus is thick you may want to add at 4 minutes. Or if it is thin, add at 2 minutes. 3 minutes is for medium thick asparagus.) Drain and rinse in cold water through a colander when done. Make sure it drains well so the final flavors are not diluted. Toss with rest of ingredients, and season with salt and pepper. Serves 4

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