A cold pasta salad is a perfect dish for entertaining, picnic, potluck or even lunchbox. You can never go wrong with such a simple yet delicious dish. This pasta salad with creamy mint yogurt dressing is colourful and attractive not only from the aesthetic point of view but also for the varied flavours and nutrients it is bursting with. It is pasta and cheese by the end of the day, so kids love it and pasta salad is one of the better ways to make them (and grownups) eat their veggies. Also helps when you’re on a mission to lose weight.
A bonus recipe: Put together this pasta salad and the yogurt dressing on lettuce to make these amazing lettuce wraps.
Here comes the healthy twist: This pasta salad does not have the Italian salad dressing, instead, I’ve paired it with a tangy mint yoghurt pesto-style dressing. This yoghurt dressing gets its unique flavour from roasted garlic. The secret of the mint yogurt sauce’s creaminess and deliciousness lies in roasting the garlic with the skin and peeling it before blending. This technique renders a creamy texture and locks in the flavour to give you a heavenly sauce you’ll never get tired of.
I stumbled upon this roasting thing when I was trying hard to think of an alternative for garlic in the pesto sauce. (This is what happens when your better half hates the smell of raw garlic). But it is no more a pesto without the garlic. Hence the roasting. Needless to say, he loved it.
Recipe for pasta salad with creamy mint yogurt dressing
Ingredients ( For 3 to 4 servings)
- Bow-tie pasta – 1/2 cup
- onion – 1, thinly sliced
- green pepper – 1, thinly sliced
- carrot – 1, thinly sliced
- cherry tomatoes – a handful, halved
- olives – a handful, thinly sliced
- feta cheese cubes – 1/4 cup
- extra virgin olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- salt and pepper to taste
For the mint yogurt dressing
- yogurt – 1/2 cup
- mint leaves – 1/2 cup, loosely packed
- a half of a green chilli pepper
- walnuts – 1/4 cup
- roasted garlic – 2 cloves
- lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
- Cook the pasta as per package instructions. Drain, cool and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix well.
- Mix in the sliced vegetables, olives and cheese cubes.
- Blend all ingredients for the yoghurt dressing in a blender or food processor, adding the remaining olive oil slowly while it’s still running.
- Refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.
- Drizzle the dressing onto the salad just before serving.
- Meat-lovers or those paranoid about their protein and omega-3 intake (if you’re like me) can add pieces of seared chicken breasts or steamed fish or prawns to the recipe.
- I’ve used farfalle here, but any pasta would do. It’s just that the little ones get excited about the bow-tie shape.
- On lazy days, you can also use raw garlic in the sauce recipe, but you’ll definitely miss out on the unique flavor.
- Feta cheese can be replaced with cottage cheese or paneer.