Well, we are now officially back from our summer vacation trip to my in-laws in the Far North of Idaho. I capitalize that because sometimes I think it should be it’s own unique and gorgeous little territory. They live about 20 miles south of Canada between beautiful mountains in a valley surrounded by their farm land. It’s dreamy.
It was the perfect setting and timing for me to participate in my dear friend Susan’s Virtual Picnic (of the blog Doughmesstic) as part of the Dreamfields 3rd Annual Pastapalooza Pasta Salad Celebration. Seriously, when you talk about Dreamfields… well, that’s where we were!
Farmland and forest as far as the eye can see, broken up by rivers, streams and lakes galore. I just snapped this picture for my Instagram while we were driving down the road. All that gorgeousness without even trying, you can only imagine how beautiful it is when we really go looking.
I have so much to talk about the trip and can’t wait to share that with you, but for the sake of time, let’s put that on hold for a few days so I can tell you about this pasta salad and the giveaway.
As part of the #Pastapalooza I was given the theme of ‘Summer’s Bounty’ to design a pasta salad around using all the fresh seasonal produce available right now. It was so much fun to go to the local Farmer’s Market while I was visiting my in-laws (we went to the market in Sandpoint, Idaho). There was so much beautiful produce to choose from that this was a snap to make!
I actually had a harder time narrowing down my choices because of all the summer bounty I was faced with. I finally narrowed things down according to color, complimentary flavors and availability. I ended up with sliced carrots, Sungold tomatoes, rainbow chard, sugar snap peas and fresh pea shoots. I picked up all of this produce at the farmer’s market between a couple of different stands, including from this lovely couple.
I originally was going to do a pasta salad combined with heirloom tomatoes and watermelon in a citrus vinaigrette, but changed my mind because we went fishing the day before and had some trout we had smoked at the farm to use, so this version was created instead.
The boys get so excited to go fishing each summer at this beautiful lake near their grandparents farm. It’s one of our favorite days. Seriously, those are the colors there below – I didn’t edit that picture at all! And totally didn’t realize until just now that all the boys wore blue shirts that day either. 🙂 After fishing they are so excited to eat what they caught!
When we go visit my in-laws we are on the go, go, go all the time, so having this simple, fresh and satisfying salad that we didn’t have to worry about being chilled was the perfect lunchtime solution. Just so we’re honest here, not everyone is going to want smoked trout on their salad. That is why the individual containers were perfect. I just added bits of the fish to the individual portions and left it out of the others. You could easily add in some chunks of cold chicken or canned tuna and this would still be fantastic.
Here is a tip for you as well. If you ask very nicely most grocery stores will sell you a few of their salad bar containers. I picked up a few of those brown cardboard containers to take with us for $.10 each. They are perfect for packing individual portions for each person. This salad was light on the dressing, but generally the stores have those little plastic containers with the tight fitting lids as well and may sell you those too.
The salad was equally delicious and satisfying without the smoked trout and made a lovely side dish with all those gorgeous vegetables.
In fact, that was how we ate the remaining salad the next day along side some grilled burgers. I loved the fresh crunch of the veggies and all that wonderful pasta. I always have an easier time eating my vegetables when there is pasta involved. The salad was lightly dressed with a simple and quick honey dijon vinaigrette with a little added spices from a blend I picked up at the the grocery store that had some mint, orange peel, garlic, salt and pepper, but you could use whatever your favorite spice blend is here or leave it out and just use a little salt and pepper too.
The next time I make this I plan on making a pesto out of all the beautiful Basil that’s available out there and using the herbs from the market, but that would have been easier done at home in my own kitchen. This one was just straight and simple to put together even away from home!
As part of the Dreamfields 3rd Annual Pastapalooza Pasta Salad Celebration I’m happy to be able to announce that I get to give away an entire case of Dreamfields Pasta to one of my readers! I love their pasta and was happy to be able to participate. I first found out about Dreamfields last summer when I was visiting my in-laws because of their healthier, low-carb product. My MIL is diabetic and that’s something we always need to take into consideration, so this was like coming full circle from last year’s discovery of the brand. Be sure to enter the giveaway below! I know how expensive groceries are, so having a case of pasta on hand is no small prize. That’s pantry stocking at it’s best with infinite possibilities!
Garden Market Pasta Salad with Smoked Trout
Makes enough for 4 meal servings or 6 generous side dish servings
1/2 box (1/2 lb.) Dreamfields Rotini Pasta, cooked according to package directions and cooled under cold running water
1 large or 4 small carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
10 Sungold small tomatoes, halved (or grape or cherry tomatoes)
4 stalks rainbow chard, trimmed, sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed of stem ends and sliced in half diagonally
Small handful of fresh pea shoots (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon your favorite citrus seasoning mix (like lemon pepper) (optional)
1 teaspoon light olive oil
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt (divided)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional or to taste)
1 filled cold smoked trout, flaked into small bite-size pieces (optional)
- Cook the rotini pasta according to the package directions and drain it into a colander, running the pasta under cold water to cool. Set aside.
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Prepare a large bowl of ice water with a colander in it and set aside.
- Prepare the sugar snap peas by trimming the stem ends, cutting the pea pods in half diagonally and then blanching the pea pods for 30 seconds in the boiling salted water. Remove the pea pods from the boiling water and place in the colander/bowl of ice water to shock and stop the cooking. (Don’t discard the boiling or ice water yet!)
- In a large bowl gently toss together the carrots and tomatoes. Add the blanched and drained pea pods.
- Rinse the rainbow chard well to remove any remaining grit or dirt. Slice the stalks very thinly. Roll the leaves and slice them into thin ribbons. Blanch the stalks and ribbons in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the boiling water and into the ice water colander set up again. Remove the chard from the ice water bath and drain well before adding to the vegetables in the bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, seasoning, olive oil, water, honey, Dijon and 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Toss all the vegetables together lightly with the lemon juice, honey and Dijon mixture.
- Add the pasta and stir gently to combine and coat.
- Top with the torn pea shoots to garnish.
- Add the smoked trout bits on top of each serving, or toss lightly into the salad before serving.
- Serve the pasta salad at room temperature or chilled.
Disclosure: I am being compensated for creating the recipe above and participating in the #Pastapalooza. My opinions are 100% my own, as always.