As our day is getting longer, refreshing meals often come to my mind on hot afternoons. Buckwheat noodle salad is my favorite summer dish. But you may find it difficult to buy buckwheat noodles in your area. Some people may be allergic to buckwheat like my little brother. So, here comes a recipe for a pasta salad that is more accessible to many people. It is also more portable than buckwheat noodle that tends to lose its flavor quickly due to its continued expansion after cooking. This pasta salad can be made ahead of time and served to please a crowd on a picnic.
You will only need to cook pasta to make this dish. While cooking pasta, you can cut and mix all other ingredients. You don't even need a special sauce. This dish is flavored with tomato, garlic, olives, avocado, vinegar, salt, and pepper. How easy is that?
Fresh ripe tomatoes are now in season. Did you know that tomatoes are a superfood? They are rich in fibers and antioxidants such as lycopene (red pigment), beta carotene (yellow or orange hue), and vitamin C. Naringerin in tomato skin reduces inflammation. Lycopene is also concentrated in the skin. So, don't throw away the tomato skin! Dietary fat helps the absorption of lycopene up to 4 times. That is another reason we use oil and avocado in this salad.
Fibers in tomatoes feed our "friendly" gut bacteria, which keeps our gut healthy, helps us stay lean, and reduces our risk of colon cancer, as I mentioned here. Antioxidants in tomatoes slow down aging. Anti-inflammatory effects of tomatoes can improve our circulatory health by decreasing the deposition of cholesterol into blood vessels. Chili also makes the best use of tomatoes.
Although the picture below shows cucumber, I recommend avocado for its bright green color, creamy texture, and increased absorption of lycopene in tomatoes. You can also enjoy its numerous health benefits.
Ingredients for 6 servings
0.5 LB of uncooked fusilli pasta
0.5 LB of radishes (sliced) One red bell pepper (sliced)
Half of a sweet or red onion (sliced)
3 oz of black olives (twenty small olives)
Two plum tomatoes (cubed)
One clove of garlic (finely minced)
One avocado (cubed)
Cooked corns (as much as you like)
Basil or scallions (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
4 tsp distilled vinegar 1/4 tsp ginger powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Tsp olive or sunflower oil
Cook fusilli pasta according to the manufacturer's direction. While cooking the pasta, you can prepare all the other ingredients.
Microwave fresh or frozen corn and let them cool down in a container with a cover on. Because cooked corns are delicate, I won't add them to this salad until everything else is ready to go.
You can put all the other prepared vegetables, vinegar, oil, and seasonings in a big mixing bowl and mix everything well. If you plan to serve this salad later, add the avocado right before serving to prevent its browning.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the vegetable mixture. If you need more time to get the vegetables ready, add some oil to the cooked pasta and keep it covered to prevent it from getting dry.
After all the ingredients but avocado have been mixed, check the final taste of this salad to see if it needs more salt. Add the cooked corns to the salad and keep it refrigerated in a glass container until it is ready to be served.
You can toss avocado cubes to the salad right before serving. This salad can be garnished further with freshly chopped scallions or basil.