Mediterranean Penne Salad

Passover's over, so we're back to carbs! Hoorah! Last night I threw together this great pasta salad from the most recent Cooking Light. It's got lots of yummy Mediterranean flavors, like olives and goat cheese, plus roasted vegetables which add a ton of flavor. The dressing is also super delicious -- tangy and the tiniest bit sweet. This is a great warm-weather meal and would make a delightful addition to any picnic, potluck, or other summertime party.

Mediterranean Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Penne Salad with Goat Cheese
From Cooking Light
  • 2 cups uncooked penne
  • One bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • One pint cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
Preheat oven to 400 F. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Place asparagus and tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 6-10 minutes or until asparagus is tender and tomatoes have begun to burst. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Combine shallots, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, herbes de Provence, and honey in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, stirring constantly with the whisk. Stir in a big pinch of salt and pepper.

Place pasta, asparagus, tomato, olives, and arugula in a large bowl. Toss. Drizzle dressing over pasta mixture and toss again. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve immediately, or cover and chill for 2 hours for a cold pasta salad.