Summer Harvest Pasta Salad with Chickpeas & Calendula

Summer Harvest is really a blanket term that kind of means “whatever you want” as long as it’s generally things that are in season and that maybe you could pick out of your garden (if you have a garden – and also if you just so happen to be growing vegetables)

So for this Summer Harvest Pasta salad we are going with, spinach, red bell pepper, parsley, basil, red onion, chickpeas and calendula petals. I’m also taking a shortcut by using red wine vinaigrette that’s already made and bottled (I know I know – SO LAZY)

Here’s the recipe

8 oz bow tie pasta ( I just eyeballed half a box)
Red wine vinaigrette dressing – to taste & I am using Wishbone salad dressing
1 red bell pepper
1/2 red onion or one small red onion
5 oz of fresh spinach
1 – 15.5 oz can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
Parsley – few sprigs
Basil – 2 or 3 leaves
salt & pepper – to taste

So to start out with you need to cook the pasta, and something that really surprised me the other day,while I was cooking with someone new at work. Was that they did not know to salt the water when cooking pasta, so let’s start with that. Put a few tablespoons of salt in with the water when you’re boiling the pasta. This step greatly enhances the flavor of the pasta. Anywho, Farfalle or bow tie pasta, cooks for about 11 – 13 minutes depending on how firm you like the pasta.

Once the pasta is done, spread it out in a layer, I like using a pie plate for this. I also drizzle a little bit of the vinaigrette dressing over the pasta to kind of soak in as it cools. The pasta needs to cool down all the way before you mix it in.

While the pasta cools you can get ready the other vegetables

slice up a red bell pepper into small matchstick sized pieces

Next dice up a half of a red onion, or a whole red onion depending on the size of the onion itself.

Chiffonade ( thinly slice ) the spinach & also the basil & parsley – which I proudly note came right out of my garden.

Drain off the liquid from the can of chickpeas, and then add them in

Toss all of the ingredients together

When the pasta is completely cooled add it in as well. Now is the time that you could also add in some more dressing just to really give everything a good coating. Take a taste and add some salt and pepper to enhance the flavors of everything

Right before serving take some calendula flowers and dot them here and there to garnish as well as take the petals and strew them about here and there over the salad. Note – it is very important to make sure you thoroughly wash the calendula flowers as aphids love them and are very sneaky! Just as you would need to wash fresh lettuce, you will also need to wash fresh flowers and herbs that you are going to be cooking with.

This salad is light, but filling without being heavy. It’s a great thing to just have around to snack on.

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