I started participating in Meatless Monday a couple years ago. In fact, I think Jon even suggested it. I’m pretty sure he said, “want to try doing Meatless Mondays?” But what I heard was “let’s go vegetarian, for the rest of our lives.”

See, whenever someone feels the desire to give up meat, for any length of time, I immediately think their ultimate goal is to be a vegetarian. Which is not true, almost ever, but it’s where my head goes…

Sorry for anyone who I completely annoy with my ‘reasons you should eat less meat and more vegetables’ propaganda. But for real, eat your veggies people! So maybe I’m not REALLY sorry…

Anyways, I made this pasta salad for baby Wave’s 1st birthday. It was a ‘Wave/Beach’ themed birthday, so I called it ‘pearls and shells’ pasta salad. We had burgers and hotdogs as main part of the meal, so naturally I wanted everything else to have fruit or vegetables in it. Did I maybe make this salad as a way to help people get just 1 more serving of veggies into their daily intake? Maybe. And is there anything wrong with making a super delicious salad that just HAPPENS to have a little bit of vegetables in it? Nope.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Yield: 10-14 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs shell pasta (or any other noodle you like)
  • 1 cup prepared pesto (I used an 8 ounce jar of Classico)
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed from all the excess water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup light mayo
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used whole milk, but any fat content will work)
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen peas (thawed, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • *Salt and pepper to your taste preferences

Instructions

Directions:

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Rinse with cold water, drain and cool to room temperature.

In the bowl mix the spinach, pesto, lemon juice, mayo, yogurt, salt and pepper. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan and peas.  Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Can be made 3 days ahead of time.  In fact, make it at least 1 day ahead of time so the ‘sauce’ really absorbs into the noodles.  This makes it taste even better!

http://www.fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com/2012/03/pesto-pasta-salad/

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Notes:
The recipe makes a TON of pasta salad. It’s a really great dish to bring to a potluck, party, or to make and eat leftovers all week for lunch. Be a veggie pusher, encourage others to eat more veggies by making this.
The pasta salad tastes great thrown over a bed of greens too. There I go, pushing even MORE veggies on you. I can’t help it…

Since St, Patricks Day is Saturday, I’m posting all green food this week. No, not like fake fluorescent green food, REAL green, like from the natural color of the food. This is a ‘triple whammy’ green food: pesto, spinach and peas, all in 1 dish!