There are so many things I love about this time of year: the sun rising as I'm leaving the yoga studio in the early morning, the sun setting as I'm getting ready for bed at night, leaving the house without multiple layers on, and little green shoots coming up in the garden. I love how the trees are leafing out and the grass is greening up, and I really, really love the return of salad season.
Now, don't get me wrong - we love our salads around here and eat them year-round, but there's something about the return of the warm weather that makes me want to eat ALL SALADS ALL THE TIME. There's just something so perfect about a salad that can be either a meal unto itself, or served as a hearty side dish for a barbeque. And this pasta salad is all that and more; it's easy to make, it's savoury and delicious, and it features a good pop of protein that keeps you feeling full for hours.
This sundried tomato pasta salad serves a crowd, and it makes scrumptious leftovers. I make it when it's my turn to provide a dish for Staff Appreciation night at our school, and it's always a hit. Try it for your next barbeque, or even just an easy weeknight supper - and lunch the next day!
In a food processor or blender, pulse together sundried tomatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and garlic until fairly smooth. This dressing can be made up to a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator.
Cook rotini according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water.
Toss together rotini, dressing, cherry tomatoes, black olives, Parmesan cheese, and navy beans.
Top with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve.
Makes 6-8 meal-sized servings, 10-12 side servings