This post is sponsored by Barlean's by all opinions are 100% my own.
With the warmer weather coming I've been thinking about cooler side dishes. All winter long I look for hot potato side dishes, roasted vegetable dishes, and dishes covered in melted cheese. Once the weather starts warming up I like to start making potato salads, pasta salads, and other cold side dishes.
One of my favorite warm weather side dishes is pasta salad. In fact, I'm fairly certain I have at least ten different recipes for pasta salad on this blog. I love pasta and I have fun adding different vegetables, meats, cheeses, and homemade dressings to make new and inventive dishes. One way to switch up the dressings is to use different types of oil.
This time I used Barlean's Fresh Organic Flax Oil. I used Flax Oil because it's filled with Omega-3 fatty acids which are known to reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Flax oil is great when used in dressings, dips, pesto, and even drizzled in soup after cooking. The one downside is that it can not be heated to over 225 degrees or else it will loose its nutritional benefits.
To make the dressing I used a combination of flax oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and honey. This is a great base for a salad dressing because it has an oil, an acid, a touch of sweetness, and a bit of flavor from the balsamic vinegar. Then I added in herbs and spices to give it additional flavor.
For the pasta salad I used penne pasta but you can use any shape you would like. I try to stick with bigger shapes so that it's easy to eat with a fork and really soaks up the dressing. Then I added in the vegetables I had on hand which happen to be carrots, broccoli, onions, and bell peppers. Next I added pepperoni and sweet cheddar cheese to finish off the pasta salad.
This pasta salad is really tasty. The vegetables are crisp, the pepperoni is salty and flavorful, the cheese adds a bit of creaminess, and the dressing packs a ton of flavor. It all works together to make a delicious warm weather side dish that would be perfect at picnics and summer parties.
This dressing can also be used on traditional salads as well or even drizzled over top of grilled chicken or fish. I love how versatile it is!
- 12 oz. pasta (I used penne but you can use your favorite shape)
- ¼ c. onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- ½ c. broccoli, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 2 oz. pepperoni, chopped
- 4 oz. sweet cheddar cheese, chopped
- ¼ c. Barlean's Organic Flax Oil
- ¼ c. olive oil
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 3 T. fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 t. Italian seasonings
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. pepper
- 1 T. honey
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the onion, carrots, broccoli, peppers, pepperoni, and cheddar cheese. Mix well.
- Add in the pasta and toss to combine.
- Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar or a jar with a tight lid and shake for 30 seconds.
- Pour dressing over top of the pasta salad and toss to coat.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving or up to 3 days. You may need to add additional dressing before serving.