Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad
The Cooking Cardinal has been in existence for almost 3.5 years, and it has really been something I’ve done as a creative outlet (however infrequently it has become). I’ve always felt like there was something lacking in my photography, since I’ve always just used my phone to take and edit the photos. Well buckle up readers, because that is about to change!
Brandon has graciously let me take over his DSLR camera; and armed with that, along with a new lens I bought, I set to work practicing taking pictures, finding the best lighting in the house (which happens to be in our bedroom, so I’ll be getting in a LOT of steps on photography day!), using actual photo editing software, and getting more comfortable styling food. I still have a LONG way to go, but I am very proud of my first attempt with a real camera.
Enough about photos though, let’s talk about this pasta salad! With all the fresh, ripe fruit during the short summer months, I love incorporating them into as many dishes as possible. Strawberries work great in salads, and surprisingly with pasta as well.
I first made this pasta salad when I was asked by Brandon’s mom to make food for a bunco night she was hosting, and it was love at first bite for me! The ingredients are simple – strawberries, rotini pasta, goat cheese, arugula, and balsamic vinaigrette. The sweet strawberries go so well with the creamy goat cheese, and the peppery arugula cuts through the richness of the cheese and acts as a counter point to the strawberries. Then everything is coated with a delicious balsamic vinaigrette.
We eat a lot of pasta salads when we grill in the summer, and this one can be on the table in the amount of time it takes to cook the pasta. To get started, you’ll want to bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package; then drain and rinse the pasta under cold water. While the pasta cooks, wash and dry your strawberries and cut them into quarters. Then crumble some goat cheese, and mix up the dressing (or use your favorite store bought dressing).
The arugula is fairly simple to prepare – just grab a few handfuls out of the bag. Add everything to a bowl, and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
Mix everything together – this is easiest if done in a large bowl!
I think this pasta salad is best enjoyed the same day, but it is still SO tasty for several days after you make it. If you have leftovers to enjoy the next day, I suggest adding some extra vinaigrette to freshen up it up. One great thing about arugula is it won’t wilt as quickly as lettuce, and lasts for a few days in this dish.
A good thing about this strawberry balsamic pasta salad is that it is not coated in a heavy mayonnaise based sauce, yet you still get a creamy texture from the goat cheese. Serve it with some grilled chicken, and you’ll have a simple and extremely satisfying meal!
- 2 cups quartered strawberries
- 4 oz goat cheese crumbled
- 2-3 cups arugula could also substitute spinach
- 1 pound rotini pasta can sub farfalle or fusilli
- 1/3-1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, once boiling add 2-3 teaspoons of salt. Add pasta, and cook according to directions on package (10-12 minutes). When done, rinse under cold water, then drain thoroughly.
- While pasta cooks, cut your strawberries into quarters.
- Crumble goat cheese, set aside until ready to assemble.
- In a large bowl, add drained pasta, strawberries, goat cheese, arugula and balsamic vinaigrette. Toss well to combine.
**Cardinal Rule** Since the pasta is cooled after cooking, it will not have carry-over cooking. Make sure you cook your pasta a little more than al dente. No one wants chewy pasta salad.