Spring is finally here and I couldn't be more excited! Besides warmer weather, I am ready for lighter meals filled with lots of veggies like this Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad! I grew up eating a lot of pasta salad at my family events. Usually the pasta salads are filled with cheese, cold meats, and bottled dressing. I wanted a make a lighter pasta salad that no one would guess is vegan.
This Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad is a lighter pasta salad that would be perfect for serving at your picnic, bbq, or really anytime. I used one of my favorite gluten-free pastas for the recipe: Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta from Trader Joe's. You can use your favorite pasta, but I really like the fusilli for pasta salads.
The pasta is filled with lots of fresh spinach, artichokes, and roasted red bell peppers. A simply vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil dresses the salad. The dressing is light and doesn't weigh down the salad. If you are serving the pasta the next day, check to see if the pasta has absorbed most of the dressing. If it seems a little dry add in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I found that after two days the pasta salad needed a little bit more moisture.
The salad definitely tastes better after it has been chilled for a few hours. The flavors really shine after a few hours in the fridge.
This Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad not only makes a great salad for a bbq or also for taking on a long hike. This past weekend, Hector and I went hiking at one of the dune parks along Lake Michigan in West Michigan. It was so great to get outdoors in nature. It was cold, but that didn't stop us from having a great time. We are really into hiking and are planning on doing some backpacking trips this Summer. I can't wait! This pasta salad held up really well and was the perfect lunch after our long hike at the dunes!
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- 1 Lb Fusilli Pasta, GF if needed
- 4-6 Cups Fresh Spinach, Roughly Chopped
- 1 15 ounce can Artichokes Hearts packed in water, drained and chopped
- 1 Jarred Roasted Red Bell Pepper, drained and diced
- ¼ Cup Red Onion, finely diced diced
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- Zest of 1 Lemon, preferably organic
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
- Salt and Pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook al dente, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and spread the pasta in a single layer on a cookie sheet or two large plates. This will cool the pasta down faster before adding the rest of the salad ingredients.
- In a large bowl, add the chopped spinach, artichoke hearts, roasted red bell pepper, and red onion. Gently combine.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the pasta has cooled slightly, it doesn't have to be cold, add the pasta to the bowl with the spinach. Toss to combine and add the chopped parsley and tomatoes. Pour the dressing and toss the salad until the dressing is evenly distributed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve or refrigerate.
After the pasta sits for more than a day, it might be a little dry because the pasta has absorbed all the dressing. Just drizzle some extra virgin olive oil to the salad
Recipe inspired by Rachael Ray.