BROCCOLI PASTA WITH TOMATO VINAIGRETTE
This is the time of year. It’s that time of year again when I only want to eat cold salads and crunchy vegetables. Since broccoli is my favorite crunchy vegetable, I created a pasta dish with broccoli and my favorite homemade salad dressing. This Broccoli pasta salad features a tangy tomato vinaigrette with nutty sunflowers seeds, savory onions, and a creamy-salty Feta. This combination of flavors and textures is simply magical!
This salad is made with rotini because the notches in the pasta are perfect for grabbing the dressing and ensuring that every bite has a lot of flavors. You could use penne or bowtie instead. The nutty taste of whole wheat pasta goes well with this salad.
SALAD DRESSING Options
This recipe includes a homemade tomato dressing, but you can substitute a basic Italian or champagne vinaigrette if you don’t like tomatoes. I would stick with sauces that were light and tangy.
Is the BROCCOLI Raw??
When I posted my last salad recipe, many people were surprised to learn that raw broccoli was possible (or desirable). The broccoli in this recipe is indeed natural. Raw broccoli has a different flavor than cooked broccoli but is still delicious. I recommend using roasted broccoli for a more flavorful salad if you prefer cooked broccoli.
Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.05)
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar ($0.20).
Buy 1/2 tsp dried Basil ($0.05)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder ($0.02)
1/4 tsp sugar ($0.02)
1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
1/8 tsp freshly crushed black pepper ($0.02)
6 Tbsp Olive Oil ($0.96)
1/2 lb. rotini pasta ($0.38)
1 lb. Broccoli ($0.89)
Half a cup of diced red onions ($0.16)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds unsalted ($0.25)
4 oz. Feta ($1.65)
First, prepare the vinaigrette. Whisk together the tomato paste with red wine vinegar and Basil in a large bowl. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Start whisking in the olive oils, one tablespoon at a time, until they are fully incorporated. Set aside the vinaigrette.
The package will tell you how to cook the pasta (boil it for 7-10 mins or until it is tender). Drain the pasta using a colander. Rinse the pasta briefly in cool water to remove heat. Drain well.
As the pasta cooks, remove the broccoli stems and roughly chop each floret into bite-sized pieces—red onion finely diced.
Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl once it has been drained. Add the broccoli, red onions, and sunflower seeds. Sprinkle the crumbled feta on top. Pour the dressing into the bowl and gently toss all the ingredients together until everything is evenly coated. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.