Here’s a wonderful pasta salad, perfect as a side dish for summer gatherings or else as a meal on its own. The lemon aioli dressing is nice and refreshing and pairs perfectly with the smokiness of the salmon and mozzarella. You can replace the mayo in the dressing with nonfat Greek yogurt if desired – it won’t be quite as creamy but it will lighten it up some.
I like to garnish this salad with fresh tomato and/or avocado slices as well as a couple of sprigs of parsley.
Ingredients (makes 4 to 6 servings)
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 box (8 oz.) bowtie pasta (I used tricolor)
- 6 to 8 ounces smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup kalamata olives, sliced small
- 1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese, diced small
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped small
For the dressing
- ¾ cup light mayonnaise
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 garlic gloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dill weed (dried)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, plus a few sprigs for garnish
- Zest from half of a large lemon
- Sea salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Peel, seed and dice the cucumber. Place in a colander, sprinkle with a little bit of salt, and let drain for at least half an hour.
Prepare the pasta according to the package – you want it al dente. Drain the bowties in a colander and let cool.
Place the pasta, cucumber, smoked salmon, olives, smoked mozzarella and chives in a large bowl and gently mix.
Prepare the lemon aioli by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients until nice and smooth.
Fold in the dressing to the pasta mixture. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors meld.
Garnish with tomato and/or avocado slices and parsley sprigs. Serve with a glass of nice white wine.
This refrigerates well for several days, although you may need to add some additional mayo.
Eat, drink and be merry!
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