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Pasta Salad


This pasta salad takes its inspiration from the Mediterranean. Kalamata olives, feta cheese, marinated artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes blend together beautifully and add such bursts of flavor. The cucumber, red onion and celery add much needed crunch, and Brussel sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables and so had to be included. Sauteing them until slightly browned brings out their almost nutty flavor.
For my dressing, I wanted something thick and creamy without using mayonnaise. Avocado, that creamy and trendy fruit, was the perfect solution. Combine it with some lemon, vinegar and herbs, and you have a lovely, creamy dressing that is a welcome alternative to mayo.
A note on the pasta; I highly recommend a spiral pasta shape. It catches the dressing beautifully and looks so pleasing to the eye. Also, don’t let the pasta go stone cold before incorporating the dressing; adding the pasta with the other ingredients while still slightly warm allows the pasta to better absorb the flavors. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 pound of cooked pasta
½ cup chopped Kalamata olives
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup chopped cucumber
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 cup sliced Brussel sprouts
1 tablespoon oil

Dressing:
Salt and pepper
Juice of a lemon
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 avocado, mashed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (oregano, parsley, rosemary)

Method:
Saute the sliced Brussel sprouts in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat until they begin to brown. Combine all of the pasta salad ingredients.


In another bowl, mash the avocado. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, herbs and olive oil and whisk into a thick dressing. Pour over the pasta salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to mingle and meld.


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