I only eat pasta salad in the summertime, so when when we finally got a blast of summer-like weather here in Vancouver, I decided to try my hand at a pasta salad. Green beans and peas are popping up locally, but because I had a stash of frozen peas in the freezer, I used those instead. At my local market, I found some beautiful young green beans. These can quickly become overcooked, so make sure to keep an eye on things so they stay bright and crisp. For this salad, I decided to give the red onion a quick bath in the boiling water to blanch it a little bit. It's not something I normally do, but it worked nicely here so that no one got a huge bite of raw onion.
This salad is quick to prepare and really refreshing. The pasta and the bright green vegetables have a nice bite and adding a good hit of tarragon to the dressing gives this dish a unique flavour. I like that this dressing uses sour cream instead of mayo which gives this salad a nice tang. If you wanted to save a few calories, try using a low-fat greek yogurt instead. This recipe makes 2 large bowlfuls, but can easily be doubled if taking to a picnic or barbeque.
Green Bean Pasta Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing
250 g short pasta (like bowties)
2 large handfuls of green beans, trimmed and sliced into thirds
1/4 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons red onion, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 scant teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
juice of 1/2 large lemon & zest
salt & pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is 3 minutes to being al dente, add in the green beans. Three minutes later, give the frozen peas and the red onion a quick dunk in the boiling water and then drain well, rinsing with cold cold water. If you are using fresh peas, don't cook them, but add them instead to the rinsed pasta salad.
Meanwhile, mix up the dressing in a small jar. Pour as much as you need over the salad (you may have some dressing left over) and sprinkle with a bit of crumbled feta cheese, giving everything a toss. Serves 2.