Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

This recipe is perfect for a quick one-dish summer meal or a take-along dish for a potluck. You can use any type of pasta – rice penne pasta works well in this recipe if you would like to make it gluten free. If I am taking this with me, I generally use tortellinis. They cook up so quickly – usually only a few minutes if you buy fresh tortellinis – and they hold up very well in the salad.

The main ingredients…

At the start of the week, I had a small bowl of leftover “crunchy things” from the previous night’s salad so I used those ingredients as the jumping off point for a quick weeknight, make-ahead meal. We had purchased two delicious crowns of broccoli at the farmers market last weekend – so fresh it would be a sin to cook it so I just chopped it up and popped it into a fresh salad. We also had some delicious radishes ordered from my farmers at my virtual farmers market – Farmers Fresh Market. Delicious! My children loved the crunchiness of the radishes – I sliced them quite thinly and just tossed them silently into the salad. The kiddos just threw them in their mouths with everything else. Only after did I mention there was a new veggie in their salad did they even notice it.

Ready to toss

For this pasta salad, you really can use whatever “crunchy” veggies you have on hand – broccoli, carrots, radishes, red onion, and chopped onion tops were our main veggies in this meal. However, I think that what makes this salad a winner is the sun-dried tomato! I thinly sliced some sun-dried tomatoes and green olives that I unceremoniously scooped up from the olive bar at Harris Teeter. Make sure to add in some of the oil in which the sun-dried tomatoes are sitting in and use that to lightly dress your pasta salad. For the finishing touch, I generously spooned fresh goat cheese from The Looking Glass Creamery (located in Asheville, NC) over the top of the salad.

Gently toss the cooked pasta, veggies, goat cheese, and a little bit of oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired, and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

The specifics …

About 1 pound of cooked pasta, drained and cooled
1 to 2 handfuls of chopped veggies
About 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
A few olives
About 1/4 cup (or more) goat cheese, in small spoonfuls
A little bit of oil to lightly toss the salad together – preferably from the sun-dried tomatoes

Combine and enjoy!

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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