I eat low carb, as you may already know based on the recipes on this site, but in this case I’m making an exception to make a lush salad for a friend who has recently gone through a terrible accident. What better way to make something easier on someone than by cooking up something yummy? It’s nicer to make a freezable dish, but I was just so into making a dish using gorgeous Mediterranean-inspired ingredients that I gave in and made something fresh. The good thing is that this salad keeps for awhile and only gets better as all the flavors meld together in the fridge.
Also convenient is that this salad will embrace pretty much anything you have lying around in terms of cheese and veggies. Load it up with whatever you’ve got. I focused on some pretty and sweet heirloom cherry tomatoes I got at the farmer’s market along with some mozzarella, aged cheddar, red onions, carrots, basil pesto, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, kalamata olives, SMOKED SEA SALT (dear glob yes), roasted almond slices, roasted pumpkin seeds, a little cilantro, and veggie farfalle. It’s a big mix, but it somehow works.
I don’t specify the toasting of the almonds and seeds in the recipe itself, but it couldn’t be simpler. In a dry, hot pan, just toss them around for a couple of minutes. Don’t leave them alone at all, though, or they’ll surely burn. Just stick with it until they start to smell super yummy and get a little brown/tan.
Here’s how it all came together:
- 1 pound short cut pasta, I used farfalle
- 3/4 cup basil pesto
- 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
- 1/3 cup red onions, diced
- 1 cup heirloom or regular cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
- 8 ounces mozzarella, cubed or in balls
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup toasted almond slices or slivers
- 1/2 cup torn cilantro or basil
- Smoked sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente (about 12 minutes) and then drain.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, juice of 1 lemon, and kalamata olives.
- Mix in the onions, carrots, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, smoked sea salt, and pepper.
- After the pasta has cooled, add it to a large bowl with your mixture. Toss well to combine.
- Top with toasted pumpkin seeds, almonds, and cilantro.
- Serve warm or cool.
- This salad keeps in the refrigerator for about four days and only gets better.