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Recipe: Sun-dried tomatoes lend oomph to pasta salad

Published July 9, 2014 1:34 pm

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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

So many pasta salads start with a great base — perfectly cooked pasta and a bevy of crisp, fresh vegetables — but fall apart when it comes to the dressing.

To us, the perfect pasta salad dressing requires a balance of savory, tangy flavors, with just a hint of sweetness. To create that for this salad, we start with oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, which provide a deeply savory, rich flavor. For tang, we puree the tomatoes with a mix of light mayonnaise and plain Greek yogurt. Finally, just a tablespoon of brown sugar ties everything together with a subtle sweetness.

For our vegetables, we went with red bell pepper and fennel — along with a host of fresh herbs — but you could substitute whatever vegetables you prefer. Lightly blanched carrots or green beans, as well as chopped radishes and raw corn kernels would be a fine start. —

Sun-dried tomato macaroni salad

16 ounces dried small pasta (such as elbow or farfalle)

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained

1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1 red bell pepper, cored and diced

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced

8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls (very small balls)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta and spread on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the dressing. In a blender, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, salt, pepper, brown sugar, mayonnaise and yogurt. Blend until smooth, then set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the dressing with the cooled pasta, bell pepper, fennel, mozzarella and herbs. For best flavor, cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Start to finish • 2 1/2 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings • 10

Nutrition information per serving • 300 calories; 90 calories from fat (30 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 11 g protein; 200 mg sodium.