Mexican Pasta with Zucchini and Corn

I'm back with a pasta recipe for you today.  Despite the terrible picture, it is really good!  It looks a bit bad because I used black bean pasta.  

I picked this up at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago..  The only ingredient is black beans and is thus gluten free.  Interesting. I don't eat much pasta since I avoid white flour, and all pasta is processed.  But I do like pasta so I thought I would give this a try.  Reviews say that it tastes like black beans so I decided to make a Mexican-spiced dish to go with it.  The black color of the pasta makes this look a bit unappetizing.   My dish has pretty robust flavors so the black bean flavor really doesn't come through. My one tip is to cook it less time than the package calls for.  I cooked it as directed and it was a little mushy for my liking.  This is a perfect time of year to make this since zucchini and corn are both in season. Don't be daunted by the steps, they are all easy. I ate this as a warm dish the first serving and I ate the rest of it cold like pasta salad.  You can make it either way depending on what kind of dish you need. I think it is an excellent summer meal.  If you are a meat eater, you can certainly serve it as a side dish with some grilled chicken or steak.  You will have extra sauce and it makes a great salad dressing.  

I saw the poster above in the classroom of my Kaplan class at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, VA.  I thought it was brilliant Although 5 servings of fruits and vegetables is not enough, it is certainly a reasonable goal for most people who eat one or two.  (I think the goal is 7 for women and 9 for men). I just aim for as many as I can.  I loved that this included sleep, no soda, activity and limited screen time.   

Those of you who have been reading for awhile know I love houses.  There are several houses in the neighborhood that are this style.  They always make me smile....I think they look like a face. Don't the awnings look like eyelids?  

The hydrangeas continue to be beautiful.  So many colors and types.  I am going to have to add a few more to my yard.  I love the dark purple ones. I am getting plenty of time to look at them as Beau needs lots of walking.  I love having Beau with me for these weeks, but he is so much work. The exercise I get with him is great, but a dog compared to cats is a whole new ball game.  We will both be glad when Tom comes back!  

So enough rambling for today.  I hope you have a good weekend! And try my pasta! 

Mexican Pasta with Corn and Zucchini

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: entree side salad avocado cilantro corn zuchini

Ingredients (4 servings)

    For the Onions
    • 1/2 large red onion, cut in half moons as thinly as possible
    • 1 Tbsp umeboshi vinegar
    For the Dressing
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 Tbsp lime juice
    • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey or agave nectar)
    • zest of 1 lime
    • 1/2 jalapeno pepper with seeds
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems, washed well and drained
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    For the Pasta
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • a zucchini, cut into 1/4s lengthwise, then sliced
    • 6 oz pasta (I used black bean rotini)
    • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
    • 2 ears of corn, shucked and kernels removed
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • salt and pepper
    • cubes of avocado to serve

    Instructions

    For the Onions

    In a small bowl add the vinegar to the onions. Massage with your fingertips for about a minute, until the onion softens and starts to render its water. Set aside until ready to serve

    For the Dressing

    Put all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt, vinegar, lime, or jalapeno to your liking. It should be well balanced in flavor....tart, a little sweet, a little spicy.

    For the Pasta

    Cook the pasta according to the package directions, cooking slighter less than directed so it will be al dente. (I cooked the black bean pasta the full 10 minutes as the package directed and it was too soft. I would go for 8 minutes.) If making pasta salad, rinse in cold water and set aside. If making a warm entree, start your veggies, then cook pasta once they are ready.

    Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the zucchini, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the jalapeno, the corn kernels, the cumin, smoked paprika, and another pinch of salt. Mix well to combine and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until fragrant and corn is just cooked.

    For a warm dish, add the pasta to the pan with the zucchini/corn, and mix with about 1/2 of the dressing. Taste and add more salt and pepper or dressing as needed. Serve topped with the pickled onions and cubes of avocado.

    For a cold salad, let the vegetable mixture cool. Add to the pasta and toss with about 1/2 of the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning with more dressing, salt and pepper. Serve room temperature or chilled, topped with the red onions and cubes of avocado.

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