Pasta salad gone green & healthy

Wondering what to do with all of that delicious garlic scape-cilantro pesto you made? This pasta salad is a fantastic use for it, and now that it’s summer, is a lovely, fresh item for a picnic or backyard BBQ, or just a hot night. And using whole wheat pasta–and all of the herbs–means you don’t have to feel too guilty.

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And if you like peas as much as I do, this is absolutely divine with freshly shelled peas, which are big at the farmer’s market right about now. I know, I know, it’s a bit of a pain to shell fresh peas, but it really is worth it, if you like them. And truly doesn’t take that long – I shelled the peas for this salad in about 5 minutes. But of course, you could use frozen peas; those are a great product I use year-round when I can’t get fresh.

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If you prefer traditional pesto, you could easily use that instead, and sub a mild feta, or diced fresh mozzarella (or small mozzarella balls) for the queso. This made a generous amount, enough for two meals for two of us.

Whole wheat pasta salad with pesto, peas and queso

  • 6 oz (about 1/2 box) of whole wheat elbows (or other small shape of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup of fresh peas; this was about 20 whole pea pods (or use frozen, thawed)
  • 4-6 T of garlic scape-cilantro pesto
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1/3 cup queso fresco

Cook pasta according to package directions. If using fresh peas, add to pasta about 1-2 minutes before pasta is done; if using frozen, just have them thawed & set aside.

Drain pasta & peas and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Add in the pesto and 1-2 T olive oil (enough to loosen the pesto and help it coat the pasta). Add the queso once the pasta is no longer warm enough to melt the cheese.

Enjoy!

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