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Sarah’s Mediterranean-inspired pasta salad is the ideal meal on a hot day. Flakey, olive oil-marinated tuna and chickpeas add sustenance that complements the bright tomatoes and green beans tossed together on the plate. Her light, homemade Dijon vinaigrette adds a special touch to a refreshing, filling entree. Caroline, Recipe Hunter

Caroline Cassard

THE RECIPE

Tuna Pasta Salad with Capers and Chickpeas

The Niçoise salad’s cool cousin

Sarah’s tuna pasta salad gives off a Niçoise vibe. Extra time boiling eggs on a hot day isn’t necessary, so Sarah uses chickpeas instead. They contribute a bit more protein for a satisfying entree– and when mixed in with a handful of capers, add to the salad’s Mediterranean flair. Sarah says the perfect pasta salad ratio is simple: half pasta, half “good stuff.” So a healthy helping of bite-sized green beans, grape tomatoes, and a sprinkle of red onions make this seasonal, low-cost salad a balanced meal. And the cool summer produce adds color to the warm, sauce-covered pasta-dish alternative.

The olive-oil packed tuna completes the dish. It’s flakey but not dry– better than a water-packed can of tuna, which can be a little mushy. And vegetable oil-packed tuna doesn’t seem to have the same tasty affect, either.

And Sarah’s simple, four-ingredient homemade Dijon vinaigrette beats anything you’ll find tossed in with the grocery store’s prepared foods section. Sarah advises to pour half of the dressing over the still-warm pasta. Rinsing with cold water only adds to sogginess, and this way, the freshly cooked pasta will absorb more flavor without the greasy oil after-effect. Then after it’s chilled in the fridge for a bit, she mixes in the vibrant veggies, tops it off with capers, and drizzles in the remaining vinaigrette so that every salad component receives an even oil-and-vinegar coating.

This light and bright pasta salad is a doable dinner for one, and you’re set for lunch for the the next few days. Or serve it for the whole family, and mealtime is a breeze. No need to fire up the oven or grill. Pull out an umbrella and dig in as the afternoon cools off into the early evening. Pour yourself an iced drink, and take it easy with a cool bite of Sarah’s salad.

 

THE CHEF

Sarah Fioritto

Home Cook, Restaurant Server, Blogger

Sarah Fioritto

The only thing that makes me happier than throwing together a pot of pasta or tending to a slow winter braise is sitting down to enjoy the results with good company. I draw cooking inspiration from the seasons, my mood, travel and childhood memories, and from years and years spent working in restaurants.

Sarah’s years of experience serving in restaurants, her passions for travel and cooking, and personal childhood memories serve as inspiration for Strawberry Plum, a blog where seasonal meals are served with a touch of nostalgia.

When sharing a recipe for Calamari and Artichoke Soup, Sarah writes, “Many of my favorite dishes are the ones that have the ability to transport.  You inhale, take a bite, and suddenly you’re off exploring the world or being whisked back a couple of decades and remembering a dinner you ate half a lifetime ago.”

The same is the case for her Chilled Strawberry Soup, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The sweet, refreshing taste takes her back to childhood days of gorging on fruit while berry-picking with her family. Sarah loves to cook for family and friends, and Strawberry Plum serves as a journal of food memories in the making. No matter what comes out of her kitchen, you can count on delicious, seasonal produce, and accessible, satisfying recipes.

Head over to Strawberry Plum and say hello to Sarah on Twitter and Facebook.

THE TIP

Cold Noodle Salad Secrets: Dress Noodles While Still Warm

When making a cold pasta salad, it's important to that the noodles are seasoned well. Here's a trick to make sure the noodles absorb all of the dressing.

Read the full tip >