Strawberry and Pesto Salad

Pasta salad with a modern twist, this refreshing dish is bound to be a summer BBQ favorite. The sweetness of strawberries and the creaminess of the avocado pesto dressing pack this salad full of flavor (not to mention color with all those veggies!). Eat alone, or serve with grilled organic chicken for more protein and a cold beverage of choice. Enjoy!   

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 cups wholegrain or gluten-free pasta of choice

1 broccoli, head and stalk

2 carrots, tops removed and peeled

1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, tops removed

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 can (14 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 handful (3/4 oz) fresh basil, leaves picked

Pesto and avocado dressing:

1/3 cup pesto

1 ripe avocado, stone removed and flesh scooped out

4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

juice of ½ lemon

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

shaved slices of pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano

toasted pine nuts

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

extra-virgin olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Bring a large pan of water to boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and the pasta, stir, and cook until al dente.

2.  Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into small florets, trim and roughly chop the stalk and place them in a sieve over the pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside to cool slightly.

3.  Place all of the dressing ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, season to taste, mash until combined and set aside.

4.  Thinly slice the carrots, cut the strawberries into quarters and the tomatoes in half. Transfer the pasta and broccoli to a large serving bowl, add the rest of the ingredients along with the dressing and gently toss until everything is well coated.

5.  Add a dash of water if you need to loosen the dressing. Serve topped with some pecorino, a sprinkling of pine nuts, seasoning and a drizzle of oil.

Source: Green Kitchen at Home cookbook