This salad is so pretty, so delicious and light ~ and so easy to make just an hour or two before serving. It gets even better if you make it the night before. If you have a garden, you probably know that chard is an easy vegetable to grow and one of the first to make an appearance in the spring. I have chard in my gardens year-round, so it’s often a part of a salad or soup. This pasta salad was born out of a need to use some of the abundance of chard we had last summer (see picture below! it was a gorgeous growing year!). The fun thing about this salad are the shells and how they become little cup holders for some of the smaller ingredients, like the chopped herbs, peas and cheese. We hope you and your family like this one as well as we do.
- 12 ounces uncooked small pasta shells
- Organic broccoli florets cut into bite size pieces, Approximately 1-1/2 C
- 2 cups frozen organic peas
- 1 bunch organic rainbow chard, chiffonade. Approximately 2 C
- 1 large organic red or range bell pepper, julienned into 1″ pieces Approximately 1-1/2 C
- Red or sweet white onion, thinly sliced into 1″ pieces. Approximately 3/4 C
- Fresh organic thyme. 3 T fresh, chopped
- Fresh organic basil, 1/2 C chopped
- 1-/1/4 C pecorino (or aged white cheddar) cut into small cubes (about the same size as the peas)
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 1 T dry thyme
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 2 T shallot, diced
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 2 T sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 C
Cook pasta according to directions, adding the broccoli and peas for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking process, drain again and set aside.
To make the chard chiffonade, cut leafy parts from the stems. Save your stems for a vegetable saute or to toss into soups. Roll the leaves like a cigar and thinly slice through the roll to achieve the ribbons of chard. If the ribbons are too long, you can slice them one or two times for a more manageable bite. In a large bowl combine chard chiffonade, bell peppers, onion. thyme, basil (cheese goes in last). In a food processor, add in vinegars, lemon juice, lemon zest, dry thyme, garlic, shallot, dijon, sugar, salt and pepper. With the processor mixing, slowly pour in olive oil until well incorporated. Adjust seasoning as needed. Add cooled pasta, broccoli and peas to vegetables and herbs. Toss in the cubed cheese and pour vinaigrette over the ingredients, mixing well. Chill for an hour (or over night) before serving.
Cook’s Notes :
- For a stronger herb flavored vinaigrette, we have added the listed herbs to the dressing and blended them in. You can add additional herbs (approximately 1/4 C basil and 2 T thyme) or just use the listed herbs in the dressing instead of chopped into the salad.
- For a little more flavor and something to fall into the shell pasta, add toasted sunflower seeds. Love this version!