I'm sure many of you encountered a pasta salad at some point during the 4th of July holiday weekend. Personally, I really, really don't like pasta salads with mayo, and when I saw the mayo-free version over here, I was inspired to create my own. I had also recently made a tuna salad with fennel and olives, and thought that those flavors would work well with pasta. I added some snap peas for extra crunch and cherry tomatoes for summery juiciness, and finished it off with olive oil, lemon juice, and a lot of herbs. This is a great mayo-free pasta salad full of fresh market vegetables. We enjoyed it for dinner yesterday when the weather was too steamy to consider eating a hot meal, and the leftovers made a delicious lunch.
I was originally planning on using white beans for this salad instead of tuna to make it vegetarian, but I happened to be out of white beans - I think the bean version would be just as good as the tuna, so use whichever one you prefer.
Feel free to use whatever herbs you like here. I used basil, lemon basil, oregano, and parsley, but many other herbs would work just as well.
1/2 lb pasta (I used medium shells, but any small to medium sized shape should be fine)
1/2 of a large fennel bulb, thinly sliced with pieces cut into 1-inch lengths
20 cherry tomatoes, sliced
15 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
10 sugar snap peas, sliced crosswise
1 (5 oz.) can tuna or 1 (15.5 oz.) can white beans, such as cannellini
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus more if needed
2 large handfuls of herbs, chopped (some suggestions are basil, oregano, lemon basil, mint, parsley, and dill)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until pasta is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain pasta and run under cold water until pasta is no longer warm. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice to taste. Add pasta water if the salad needs moisture.
Looks great. I've discovered fennel here (didn't see it in India) and am enjoying salads with it.ReplyDelete
I make a pasta and bean salad with a no mayo dressing: http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2008/12/kidney-bean-and-pasta-salad.html