This is a salad that is full of flavors, keeps well, is low in fat and high in nutrition.
And it’s a hit with everyone that tries it.
What more can one ask for?
I normally have this as a side with grilled meat or fish, but you could add sliced, grilled chicken to it for a main dish salad.
Or tofu for a vegetarian dinner.
Unlike many pasta salads, the flavors don’t all blend together after a day….
We cook the beans with the pasta, just to make it easier.
With a holiday weekend coming up in the US, I thought picnic fare would be in order.
Oriental Pasta Salad
Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups bite-size pasta – farfalle, fusilli, etc.
- 15oz (450gr) red kidney beans
- 10oz (300gr) green beans
- 1 cup (5oz, 150gr) cherry tomatoes
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 3 tbs snipped fresh basil
- 2 tbs snipped chives
- 3 tbs soy sauce
- 3 tbs tarragon white wine vinegar
- 2 tbs salad olive oil
- 1 tbs walnut or sesame oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Top and tail green beans and cut into 1″ (2.5cm) lengths.
- Add to the boiling pasta for the last 4 minutes of cooking time.
- Drain and rinse kidney beans and put into a large bowl.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add to red beans.
- Slice celery and add to beans.
- Snip chives, basil and add to beans.
- Add vinaigrette to beans and toss gently to combine.
- When pasta and green beans are done drain well, rinse briefly with cold water, drain again and add to red bean mix.
- Toss gently to combine.
- Mix soy sauce, vinegar, oregano and garlic in small bowl.
- Add oils and whisk – mixture will not emulsify (thicken) but should be well blended.
I’ve been making this salad for years.
The last year we lived in Minneapolis was the first year of our first retirement, albeit we were far too young.
One could also say it was our first year of unemployment….
Or our year off to find ourselves….
Or our adult ‘gap’ year….
Or our year of indecision….
We sold our house on the lake and rented a house in ‘the city’ while we decided what to do next. It actually wasn’t in the city itself but a suburb. We still couldn’t walk to any shops or restaurants but we could ride our bikes.
As we also had sold our golf club memberships we, shall we say, had a bit of idle time on our hands (in with all the decision-making).
We rode our bikes a lot.
We decided to ride completely around the ‘cities’ (Minneapolis and St. Paul, commonly known as the Twin Cities, shortened by locals). We got the maps (courtesy of AAA) and charted our path.
The plan was: starting from our house, ride for an hour or two, note the stopping point and return. For the next ride we would drive to the previous stopping point, get on the bikes and ride to a new point, return. Repeat until we had completed the circuit.
Actually, in retrospect, we rode around the cities twice, once in each direction (all of the returns to the car).
We normally rode on bike paths, occasionally on the city streets. It’s amazing how much you can learn about a place when you’re on a bicycle, rather than in your car!
We also covered all of the ‘country’ bike paths within about a hundred mile radius…. Many times.
A year later we moved to Ireland. We continued with our bike rides, this time to explore our newly adopted country. One big difference we noticed immediately is the respect given to bicycles by Irish (and, now we know, all European) drivers. We would be pedaling along with a line of lorries (big trucks) behind us, all waiting for a proper passing zone before they properly passed us, actually going into the other lane to get around us. There were no shouts of “Get the damn bike off the road” that had been hurled at us in Minnesota.
When we moved to Andorra I hung up my bike. No paths, and while the drivers were equally polite, the roads were a bit, well, steep. Mon mari loved it! In the summer when our Monday walks were in the high passes he would bring his bike. I would go on the walk; he would ride his bike back home, downhill all the way.
He told me that, on occasion, he was passing cars going down the mountain roads. I cringed. Then I told him to make certain he wore his helmet. Then I made certain that his life insurance was current. He is an adult, after all, although, sometimes…..
Naturally, at the end of our bike rides, wherever they were, we would find a lovely spot of grass and have a picnic.
This salad was a staple in the picnic basket.