Cold Pasta Salad w/ Olives and Marinated Artichoke Hearts

This is one of my favorite summertime meals. Its so easy to prepare and it actually tastes better when its been in the fridge overnight. The corkscrew pasta does a good job of catching the dressing ensuring tastiness in every bite.  You can serve it as a side dish or as a light entrée all on its own.

What I love about this dish is that you don’t have to be exact about things like the amount of olive oil or lemon juice. And if you get a really good quality jar of artichoke hearts you may not need to add any extra olive oil-the oil in the jar may be tasty enough to use as a dressing for this salad. Open up the jar and have a taste-if it has a little zing to the flavor go ahead and use it as dressing. If the taste falls flat-drain the artichoke hearts and discard the oil from the jar. As for the lemon, it will help break down the red onion and bring out its sweetness but it’s a mater of personal taste as to how much lemon you want to add. I like things that have a snap of tart to them so I add the juice of the whole lemon.

  • 12 oz fusilli pasta*
  • 1 15oz can of white beans (such as canellini) drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can of black olives, drained
  • 1 12 oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts
  • ½ a red onion chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Cook the pasta as per the directions making sure to keep it a little as dente. Drain it, rinse it under cold water and set it aside to cool.

In a large bowl combine the beans, olives, artichoke hearts, red onion and garlic clove. Add the cooked pasta. Add half the lemon juice, 1 1bsp of olive oil (or the oil that the ‘chokes were marinating in), balsamic, and salt & pepper. Once you’ve tossed it all up, let your tongue be the guide. Add more olive oil of it feels too dry. Add more lemon juice if you want more zip.

Add the fresh basil last.

If you let this sit in the refrigerator for as little as a hour you will be rewarded with a lively mixture of flavors. Works well as a make-ahead dish too.

*brown rice pasta works just as well for those who are wheat-free


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