Multi-Colored Pasta Salad

For the camping trip this past weekend, I brought a pasta salad along with the brownies. When I went to the store to get ingredients for the salad, I didn't have a clear idea of what was going to be in the salad. I basically grabbed different ingredients that I thought would meld well together. I got the chickpeas for protein, and the black olives for richness, and and orange bell pepper for color. Because this is Georgia, I got Vidalia onions to add some mild heat to the salad. I got multi-colored rotini because I wanted plenty of color in the salad. I found some Hodgson Mills rotini that are naturally colored with vegetable juices instead of funky artificial colorings.

Multi-Colored Pasta Salad

3 cups uncooked multi-colored rotini, or other bite-sized pasta
8 oz frozen thawed cauliflower
1 4-oz sliced black olives
1 15-oz can chickpeas
1/2 bell pepper, any color, cut into a large dice
1/4 cup minced sweet onion, such as Vidalia
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or the juice of 1 lemon)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp unbleached organic cane sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook the pasta according to package direction in salted water. Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and immediately cool it in cold running water to rinse off the excess starch.
2. While the pasta is cooking, add the cauliflower, olives, chickpeas, bell peppers, and onions to the salad bowl.
3. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, blend the vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, bail, sugar, and salt and pepper together. Slowly drizzle the oil into the vinegar mixture while whisking.
4. Toss the pasta with the vegetables and the dressing. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Servings per recipe: 12
Per serving:
Calories: 253
Fat: 8.5 g
Saturated fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 12 mg
Sodium: 99 mg
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Fiber: 7.5 g
Sugar: 6.8 g
Protein: 9.2 g

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