My favorite ever winter pasta salad is loaded up with vegetables, roasted to perfection. First there is roasted Tuscan kale — yes roasted! With slightly crispy edges and tender leaves. And then there are roasted sweet potato, good ole spuds, and parsnip — PLUS oven roasted chickpeas! All of which are tossed with spiral noodles and a to-die-for herb-buttermilk dressing. Yeeees!
Why pasta salads can be considered healthy
If your pasta salad is packed with nutrition ingredients, then there are more than one reason why you might want to enjoy this type of salad more often. Once cooked and cooled, the structure of the pasta (and potatoes), turns into something that is called “resistant starch”. Meaning it resists being broken down by enzymes and being fully absorbed. So it makes you feel full AND at the same time, it’s providing lots of prebiotics which nourish the good bacteria in your gut. Good news for the waistline.
And at the same time this winter pasta salad includes probiotics in the dressing from natural Greek yoghurt and buttermilk. So we are really looking after our intestinal flora. Not to mention all the other fabulous nutrients we are getting from the roasted vegetables, leafy greens and fresh herbs.
How to make this Winter Pasta Salad
Like other pasta salads, this winter version is pretty easy to make! The kale is roasted first — which is really quick — then the the rest of the vegetables are roasted on one tray, while the chickpeas are roasted on the other. Basically it is a 3-step process. Kale: 8 minutes, mixed vegetables for 10 minutes, before adding the chickpeas, then another 10 minutes and finally a quick switching of place till everything is nice and golden brown. Simple!
While the vegetables roast, you can start to prepare the other ingredients. Bringing pasta water to a boil, cooking it until al dente and preparing the buttermilk dressing.
Once the veggies are roasted (tender and lightly browned), remove them from the oven. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl, drizzle over the dressing and give everything a gentle toss until evenly coated. That’s it!
How to adapt this pasta salad recipe
I like to use Tuscan kale for this salad, but regular curly kale would also work fine. Just give it a good toss with with a dash of olive oil and rub the leaves together so that they are all coated with the oil.
I particularly love root vegetables like sweet potatoes and parsnip in this salad, but you could also swap out them out with hokkaido or butternut squash.
A mix of fresh herbs adds an extra layer and depth of flavour. Any mix of soft herbs will do, try basil, chives, or your favourite combination. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, then use arugula leaves.
Winter Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables & Buttermilk Dressing
A winter pasta salad make for a delicious way to enjoy winter kale and roasted vegetables together with pasta and flavorful buttermilk fresh herb dressing.
For the pasta salad:
- 150 g dry pasta of choice (e.g. farfalle, penne, fusilli)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 bunch of Tuscan kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (or curly kale)
- 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (375 g)
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
- 2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced (250 g)
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the chickpeas:
- 1 x 400 g can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup organic buttermilk (80 ml)
- 3 tablespoons greek yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs (e.g. dill, parsley, mint and coriander — see tips)
Preheat the oven to 450°F / 230°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the kale leaves on the tray and drizzle with about 1/2 tablespoon (or more) olive oil. Use your hands to toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the kale leaves for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Reduce the oven heat to 425°F / 220°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the vegetables on one of the baking sheets, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer, careful not to crowd, and roast in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with oil and spices and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the second baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
After vegetables have been in oven for 10 minutes, move them to the top third rack, and place the tray with the chickpeas on the bottom third rack. Roast for 20-25 minutes, switching the tray positions and tossing halfway through, until vegetables are tender and golden brown.
While vegetables and chickpeas are cooking, prepare the pasta and dressing. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. When done, drain and rinse the pasta.
In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients until well combined.
To assemble the salad, add the kale leaves, pasta, roasted vegetables and chickpeas to a large serving bowl. Drizzle over the dressing and toss gently until well coated. Serve and enjoy!
- A mix of herbs is best for the dressing as it adds another layer of flavour. Soft herbs like dill, parsley, mint, coriander, basil and chives are good choices. Otherwise, try using arugula leaves in their place.
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