Valentine’s Day Berry Pasta Salad with Spinach & Avocado


I prefer whole grain dried pasta and usually wouldn’t be caught dead buying cute shaped pasta, or pasta in crazy colors. For me, I want the best quality pasta I can find, and my favorite pasta is the farro pasta we bring back from Umbria every year. I was at World Market recently to buy a case of Muti chopped tomatoes and saw packages of pink and white heart-shaped pasta. At first, I just remarked how cute the pasta was. Still, the more I thought about it, the more I started to envision a Valentine’s Day pasta salad with fresh berries, spinach, and avocado. I talked myself into buying a package in spite of my husband’s shock that I would do so, and when I got home, I set about creating this salad for lunch.

When I make salads, I like them to be full of color, crunch, different textures, and of course, they must be full of flavor. For this salad, I used baby spinach, thin slices of baby sweet red and yellow peppers, green onions, raspberries, blackberries, and diced avocado. You could use whatever fresh salad ingredients you prefer. If you wanted to make this salad into a heartier entree salad, you could include canned chickpeas, lightly toasted walnuts, or sliced grilled chicken. I dressed the salad in a tangy pomegranate molasses vinaigrette, and the flavors came together beautifully. Even my very picky pasta-loving husband didn’t mind eating pink and white heart-shaped pasta in this salad! Do be careful about overcooking the pasta though, as the last thing you want is mushy, gummy pasta in this salad. If you wish, you can assemble the salad ahead of time apart from the dressing. Keep the salad refrigerated until just before you want to serve it, and at that time, toss the salad with the pomegranate molasses dressing. Pomegranate molasses can be found in many Middle Eastern markets. Just before serving, I sprinkled my salad with Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, but goat cheese crumbles would work just as well.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2020

Valentine's Day Berry Pasta Salad with Spinach & Avocado

Valentine's Day Berry Pasta Salad with Spinach & Avocado

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

A crunchy, colorful pasta salad filled with sweet berries, creamy avocado, and crunchy vegetables.

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 8 Ounces Dried Pasta Of Choice
  • 4 Cups Baby Spinach
  • 4 Green Onions, Chopped
  • 1 1/2 Cups Thinly Sliced Sweet Colored Bell Peppers
  • 1 Cup Fresh Raspberries
  • 1 Cup Fresh Blackberries
  • 2 Small Avocados, Diced

Dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons Pomegranate Molasses
  • 1 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

    1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
    2. Pat dry with paper towels.
    3. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, and the rest of the salad ingredients.
    4. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until blended, then drizzle over the salad.
    5. Toss gently and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393 Total Fat: 29g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 23g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 143mg Carbohydrates: 33g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 11g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 5g