One of the dishes I absolutely love to make, whether for a family reunion, a dinner with friends, or an office party (back in the day when I worked in a corporation) is a huge batch of pasta salad. It’s easy to make, cheap, and nutritious. It’s also a great way to sneak healthy food into your loved ones’ tummies! Who would’ve thought that pasta salads can be healthy, huh.
Most pasta salads out there are made with mayonnaise. Folks, let me tell you right now, mayonnaise does not do a body any good. Especially store bought mayonnaise. “Natural flavors”? “Calcium disodium EDTA”? Homemade mayonnaise entails using uncooked egg yolks. I personally would not like to endanger anyone’s health by risking to feed them salmonella, but that’s just me.
Try making a very fresh tasting pasta and bean salad which will win anyone. No need to label it as “vegan”, or “healthy”. Just feed it to them. They will eat it.
Beans are so good for you — they are a cheap source of protein and fiber, and fight against cholesterol and heart disease. In this recipe I use a basic calamansi vinaigrette which marries well with basil. A bonus to using a vinaigrette over mayonnaise? You can bring this to a potluck and it can sit for a couple of hours in room temperature, and you won’t risk food poisoning.
This recipe will cost about P30-40 per serving. For real.
Farfalle and black bean salad
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free option
1 bag, 250g dried black beans / black sitaw, cooked
1 bag, 500g farfalle / bow-tie pasta, cooked
1 bag, 1kg calamansi, juiced
1 head garlic, grated or chopped finely
½ to ¾ c. vegetable oil – extra virgin olive or combination of olive and canola
1 ½ kg tomatoes, seeded and chopped finely
1 large yellow bell pepper (optional), seeded and chopped finely
1 head onion, chopped finely
1 bag, 100g basil, chiffonaded
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional calamansi juice or vinegar to taste, such as cane, balsamic, or red wine
- Place the pasta in a large salad bowl. Combine the calamansi juice and garlic; add half of this mixture to the pasta. Drizzle in the vegetable oil – the amount is up to you. Add enough to lubricate the pasta, about ½ to ¾ cup. Toss to coat. The pasta may seem sticky because of the starch, but just be patient with it. The dressing will loosen it up.
- Add in the black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion. Add the remaining half of the calamansi-garlic mixture as well as salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Add the basil to the salad and toss. Taste and if needed, season with more salt and pepper. If the dressing seems to be lacking, add more calamansi juice or vinegar.
- Serve the pasta in a large bowl and top with a basil branch.
- This pasta is perfect for potlucks because heating it up is not an issue. This can be served cold or room temperature.
- Make it gluten-free: use rice or quinoa pasta, available at Healthy Options. Most supermarkets carry rice noodles from Thailand — you can experiment with these but they toughen up when cold. I would suggest serving the salad warm or room temperature if you want to use Thai rice noodles.