Thursday, November 11, 2010

CEIMB: Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was selected by the fabulous Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table. I love checking in on her blog at least once or twice a week, if not more. Her food always looks delicious, and she belongs to some really cool cooking groups (like our Ellie group, of course!). For this week's dish, she chose the Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese, from Ellie's The Food You Crave book.

Same as last week, when we made Ellie's Mushroom, Onion, and Basil Pizza, I couldn't believe that this week's recipe had never caught my eye before. I've had this cookbook for almost three years, and use it very often. Plus, pasta is my ultimate favorite comfort food. Yet, somehow, I've never made this pasta salad! Well, thank you very much, Kayte; because of you, now I have.

It's a snap to put together. Boil up some pasta, toast some walnuts, chop some onions (and green bell peppers, in my case), whisk together a simple vinaigrette of oil (I used avocado oil and it was yummy!), vinegar, Dijon mustard, and garlic, then throw everything in a bowl with fresh spinach, feta cheese, and salt and pepper. Funny story: I didn't have fresh spinach when I assembled my salad (I prepared it a day ahead of eating it as a side dish for dinner), so I had planned on adding the spinach in at the last minute, after we had picked some up at the grocery store. But when it came time to eat this for dinner, the spinach completely escaped my mind. Before I knew it, we were all eating, and there was no spinach in sight. It was safely tucked away in my fridge. It was still delicious, though! We have leftovers of this pasta salad, so I just added some spinach to the leftovers and we'll be able to enjoy it that way next time. Oh well. My planning was good; my execution was lacking!

As predicted, I loved this dish. The flavors really had a chance to mix and mingle while the pasta salad sat in the fridge overnight, so it was very vibrant and robust. The hubby said he was surprised that he loved this as much as he did. I was a bit concerned that the dressing wouldn't contribute enough flavor to the salad, but I should have trusted Ellie, as always. It all worked beautifully, and now I have a new pasta salad recipe under my belt!

Thanks again, Kayte! This was perfect for us this week. The original recipe can be found on Food Network's website, here, and the CEIMB blogroll can be found here.


  1. Yum, I love that you used my favorite pasta shells on this. We loved this and I will definitely make again and again. Plus it is such a pretty dish and colorful AND healthy to boot!! Yours looks delicious.

  2. Oooohhh - shells! love that idea.
    Even if the spinach wasn't in the recipe, when I see the word "salad" I think spinach. BUT.. those little chunks of green pepper I see in your salad look so good!
    It was a really good recipe. I'll make it again.

  3. I love shells so why didn't I think of using them? They come gluten-free.

    Yours makes a statement. It tells us, it will be all gone, quickly. Looks just so good.

  4. Wow...I'm fabulous...can you believe it? Can you tell my teenage sons this?? PLEASE???? LOL. The pasta salad was a big hit here as a matter of fact, I am making more for tonight as they wanted it again. I had to skip a little on the spinach as they will eat spinach alone but not mixed in things, I know, very strange. Anyway, I put a little in, took the photos, and then put more in mine but they had their spinach on the side. Go figure. Guys...they can be so particular about things. Happy to hear that you liked it so always worries when selecting a recipe that people will frown. Nice to hear there were smiles there. And, no spinach in yours? No problem, I can see this being very adaptable!

  5. Shells are the go-to noodle in our house, too. :) The salad sounds like a success--guess I should try it!

  6. I love the shell pasta...looks fantastic! This was a huge success here as well!