Monday, June 25, 2012

Weeknight Dinner: Southwest Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad

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*Today is my Grandma's birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY AWA!  I'm also still giving away $25 worth of Hodgson Mill products - Be a GFC Follower and CLICK HERE to enter*
Friday was a great way to start out this Hodgson Mill contest, but I wanted to save the best for last!  Like I said last week, Hodgson Mill is family owned and operated and really focuses on making healthy foods.  The past few months with our revamped diets have been hard on both John and I, but in the end I am confident that being healthy today will ensure that we are still here, together, for many tomorrows.

And knowing what Hodgson Mill is all about:  organic, wholesome, naturally healthy foods, I knew they were the perfect companion to our new lifestyle (can we say thank goodness we found healthy pasta to eat?!  I LOVE me some pasta!).  I wanted to make a pasta dish that was good for the summer and good for your body. So I started with re-making the typical barbeque macaroni salad and bumped it up to make it the nutritious main dish.  To kick-up the nutrition factor, I added some black beans, tomatoes, and corn!    Substituting avocados for mayo and a cilantro pesto for the dressing, we were well on our way.

While the lime juice does keep the avocado from browning, I would suggest you serve it within a few hours.  To keep for a little longer (24 hours), store in the fridge with plastic wrap tight against the pasta, so the avocado does not oxidize (the less air we let in there the better).  Barbeques are one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday and I knew we had a winner when this pasta salad went before the meat!
Southwest Cilantro Pesto Pasta
Serves:  6
1 box of Hodgson Mills Bowties
2-15.5 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups corn kernels
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes (sliced in half, if desired)
2 jalapenos, deseeded and diced
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch of cilantro
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tablespoon white pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 avocado

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Add black beans, corn kernels, grape tomatoes, and jalapenos.  Meanwhile, in a blender, blend garlic cloves, cilantro, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and pine nuts.  Slowly pour in the canola oil.  Once fully mixed, add the avocado and blend until smooth.  Toss pasta salad with the avocado-cilantro pesto.  Serve immediately. 

Nutrition Information per Serving (based on 6 servings) from MyFitnessPal:
Calories: 380
Carbohydrates: 52g
Fat: 12g
Protein: 14g
Sodium: 602mg
Sugar: 3g

Until the next time my oven is on...

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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