Need a quick meal to take to a picnic or on a camping trip? Try this quick and easy pasta salad that's chock full of raw veggies, keeps several days and is versatile so you can use what you have on hand. For example, I like either brown rice pasta or chickpea pasta for this salad but you can use whatever whole grain pasta you like. The vegetables I give are a guide, but substitute whatever you have.
Easy Pasta Salad
Serves 4 as a meal
8 ounces whole grain pasta - rotini, penne, or small shells work best
1 red or green bell pepper, diced (or a combination of both)
3 radishes, sliced thin
3 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped (or other fresh herb)
8 asparagus spears, lightly steamed and cut into one-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, diced
1 cup canned pinto beans (or other cooked bean of choice)
10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
Cook pasta according to package directions. Place prepared vegetables in a large bowl. When pasta is done, drain and let cool. When pasta is cool combine with the vegetables. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning and balsamic vinegar over the salad and toss to combine.
If you don't like cilantro, any fresh herbs can be used.
If you don't have/can't find aged balsamic vinegar use any vinegar of choice. Any oil-free dressing that you like can also be used. It's fun to play with different flavors to compliment the vegetables.