Spring Pasta Salad with Creamy Miso Dressing

Hello.  I am finally back with a recipe!  Yay.  I have been cooking a bunch but never seem to get the recipes written up and posted.  This is a simple one I made last week for a nice lunch.  It is brown rice pasta with vegetables, all tossed in a  creamy miso dressing.   The macrobiotic way is to eat a grain and vegetable at each meal, and this meets that rule. We ate this right as it was cooked so it was warm, but I also ate it leftover, cold from the fridge.  Both are delicious.  I used a good brown rice pasta which made it gluten free, but you can use any pasta you have.  Jovial brand is a really good brand for gluten free pasta.  The flavor is nice and the texture is good, just like regular wheat pasta.  You can read about them on their website, here.  

I used miso in this dressing, which is a fermented and aged food, made with some kind of bean or grain. It is a really healthy food, with probiotics that are good for the bacteria in your gut.  Miso soup is probably the most common way to eat miso, but it can be used in lots of ways.  I really like it in salad dressing.  Below is a video on how miso is made.  You can find miso in most big grocery stores, in the refrigerated section.  

In this recipe, the dressing ingredients are whirled in a blender or food processor.  Easy.  The pasta is cooked and then the vegetables are blanched in the pasta cooking water.  You can actually cook the pasta then blanch the veggies, or blanch the veggies then cook the pasta.  Just save the water whatever order you do it in.  Saute an onion and then mix it all together.  I topped this with some candied almonds we had.  You can top this with any nut or skip the garnish with no detriment to the dish.  

Earlier this week, my mom and Aunt Linda and I went to the Biltmore in Asheville to see the estate and an exhibit of Downton Abby costumes.  Sadly they would not let you take pictures.  The clothes were amazing, and very cool to see them in a house that is reminiscent of High Clere castle where the show is set.  The exhibit is traveling, so if you have the chance I highly recommend it.  Many of the clothes are made with vintage fabrics and are beautiful.  

And lastly here are a few photos from around here.  I think the picture of my mom's cat, Smoke, is like where's Waldo.  The eggs are from the local farm stand, from chickens by a young boy who started with chickens for FFA or some such group.  They still have grass and straw on them - they are that fresh and local.  They are so good.  The cows, if they are in the right pasture, watch me on my morning walk. 

I hope you'll make the pasta. The dressing can be used on salad or any vegetables you like, so make it, even if you don't make the pasta.  Enjoy! 

Vegetable Pasta Salad with Creamy Miso Dressing

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: salad side gluten-free vegan vegetarian broccoli yellow squash green beans pasta

Ingredients (4 servings)

    For the pasta
    • 6 ounces brown rice pasta, spirals or any shape
    • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • a handful of green beans
    • 3 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
    • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets, stems thinly sliced
    For the dressing
    • 2 green onions, white and most of green parts, sliced
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 Tbsp almond butter
    • 2 Tbsp miso (chickpea or a mild yellow)
    • 1/2 cup water, plus more as needed, divided
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


    For the dressing

    Put all ingredients except oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil until well blended and emulsified. Scrape into a bowl. Add water as needed to bring to desired consistency. I thinned to a pourable dressing, like a thin yogurt. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and and lemon juice as needed. Set aside in a large bowl.

    For the pasta

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente, about 9 minutes. Do no over cook. Using a strainer, scoop out the pasta and set aside, saving the water in the pot. Return to a slow boil.

    Meanwhile, heat olive oil a medium skillet over medium high heat. Saute the onion with a pinch of salt. Add the garlic clove and cook for a couple of minutes. Scrape into the large bowl with the pasta.

    Blanch the vegetables: Put green beans in boiling water for about 3 minutes or until your liking. I like them cooked through. Taste and cook until you are satisfied. Remove with a strainer and spread out on a large plate to cool. Blanch the broccoli florets, stems and squash individually, for 1 to 2 minutes each, spreading them on the plate to cool as they are each completed.

    Put all the vegetables into the bowl with the pasta and toss together. Add about 1/2 of the dressing and mix well until pasta and vegetables are well coated. Taste and add more salt and dressing as desired.

    Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Leftover dressing will keep in the fridge for 5 days or so.

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