Now that Memorial Day is over, I assume it’s fair to say that summer’s here. I know, I know. Summer’s not officially here until June 21st, but it’s hot, humid and I’m at the beach every weekend. To me, that means Summer is Here. And with summer comes cookout season. That means you’ll most likely be asked to bring a side dish or two to a backyard BBQ soon.
Pasta salad has long since been a favorite potluck dish. It’s easy, you can make it well ahead of time and needs nothing more than a spoon to serve. It’s perfect.
And of course, everyone has their favorite version. Some are dressed with mayo and some with vinaigrette. Some are tossed with fruit, some with veggies and many with both. I was really craving cold soba noodles, but wanted to translate those flavors into something a little less…slurpy. Something that would be great on a buffet table.
I made this simple pasta salad with whole wheat shells, shredded carrots, green beans, green onions, cashews and a delicious tahini dressing. Topped with fresh herbs, this is going to be the pasta salad I bring everywhere this summer. It’s light and refreshing, but still unique and addicting. Best of all, it would be great with all manner of seasonal vegetables. Hello summer!
Asian Pasta Salad
I would have garnished this with a few sesame seeds, but I was fresh out.
2 tbsp. Sesame Tahini
1 tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
3 tbsp. brown rice vinegar (or unseasoned rice vinegar)
1 tbsp. shoyu (or soy sauce)
1 tsp. Sriracha (Rooster Sauce)
1 lb. cooked whole wheat pasta
12 oz. green beans, steamed or sauteed until tender
5 oz. shredded carrots
3 oz. lightly salted cashews
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2/3 cup cilantro or basil leaves (or a combination of both)
Whisk the dressing ingredients until evenly combined. Set aside.
Toss the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving some of the herbs for garnish. Dress evenly with the dressing, making sure everything is well coated.
Sprinkle with the remaining herbs.
Makes 6 – 8 side portions.