Lunch Today: Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Posted on by Paula Gallagher

My kids love pasta! Something about fusilli or penne or even spaghetti gets them to eat without complaining. This simple vegetarian recipe for pasta salad is perfect for school lunches plus it contains a variety of healthy foods including veggies, whole grains and healthy fats. According to research around the world, children who are raised on a variety of plant-based foods have a reduced risk of obesity. So while eating as healthy as possible seems like common sense, it is not always the easiest thing to instill in our kids. Hopefully this is one recipe that your family can use that is delicious and nutritious. It is also a great recipe to get kids to help. They can measure out the corn, help dice the peppers and blend the avocado dressing.

Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

• 8 oz whole grain pasta (penne, fusilli, bow tie and shell pasta work really well) • 1 yellow or orange sweet pepper, finely chopped • 1 cup chopped broccoli florets, lightly blanched • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed • 1/2 cup diced red onion

Dressing

• 1 ripe avocado, pitted • 1 garlic clove • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds • 1/4 cup lime juice • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil • Sea salt and pepper to taste Add pasta to a large pot of boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain in cold water and set aside. In a large bowl, combine sweet pepper, broccoli, corn and red onion. Using a blender or food processor, combine avocado, garlic, basil, sunflower seeds, lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and creamy. Mix pasta and vegetables together in a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and mix gently until combined. Refrigerate for 2 hours to let all the flavors blend. Photo from here, with thanks.