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Tahini Vegetable Ravioletti Salad

July 16, 2007

Tahini Vegetable Pasta Salad

Thus far this is definitely proving to be the summer of the salad. I’m not sure I’ve ever had so much pasta salad in my life, but I’m not complaining. I am a pasta addict, and if I can eat it cold, on a hot summer afternoon when all I want to do is lay down in a bucket of ice, so much the better. And adding a ton of vegetables makes me feel slightly virtuous.

The part that’s proving to be a bit of a challenge is coming up with unique ways to dress all these pasta salads. The mayonnaise option is over played, and I can’t be satisfied just drizzling some cold vegetables with oil and vinegar or Italian salad dressing. Where’s the creativity in that? And like most other things I attempt in the kitchen, I just can’t bring myself to make the same thing twice, so I’m constantly experimenting with dressings and vegetable combinations. So far there has been a lot of household happiness as a result of my various experiments, so I guess I haven’t gone wrong yet.

Last week I saw a package of three cheese ravioletti in the market, and I immediately thought “That would make an awesome pasta salad.” I envisioned some kind of mediterranean salad, with fresh mozzarella and basil, but for some reason I neglected to pick any of that stuff up. And last Friday I found myself at home with a package of cute baby ravioli and a bag of frozen Chinese Stir-Fry vegetables that had been in our freezer for at least six months. “I can make pasta salad with this,” I thought. Sometimes, it’s all about making do with what you have.

Green Bean dancing with the carrot

The stir-fry vegetables included green beans, carrots, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and some diced red peppers. If you didn’t want to go the frozen route, you could buy all of that fresh and it would probably taste even better. I also had half a carton of grape tomatoes in the refrigerator, which I sliced and tossed in, as well, so I coul dsay at least some of this stuff was fresh.

And how to dress this strange Italian-Chinese hybrid pasta salad? With tahini, of course! Alright, maybe that’s not as obvious to anyone else as it seemed to me at the time, but if you squint your eyes and tilt your head a little while looking into my refrigerator, you’ll see it.

Tahini Vegetable Ravioletti Salad

  • 1 package of three cheese ravioletti (I think these were from Buitoni; you could probably also use tortellini, but they won’t be as cute and diminutive.)
  • 1 bag of frozen Chinese Stir-Fry vegetables, or about 3/4 c. each of fresh green beans, chopped carrots, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and red peppers
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise

Tahini Dressing

  • 2 T. tahini
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. cold water
  • salt and pepper
  • a bit of garlic powder

If you’re using frozen vegetables, they don’t need to be cooked, just defrosted. If you’re using fresh, I would suggest blanching the green beans and carrots, and perhaps sauteeing the mushrooms just a bit in some olive oil.

The dressing is very easy: Just whisk all the ingedients together in a bowl. I got to use my brand spanking new hand mixer, with a whisk attachment. It was very exciting. And a little bit splattery.

Cook the pasta for a few minutes, or however long it says on the package, and then run it under cold water in a strainer to cool it off and stop the cooking. Then just toss all the vegetables and the pasta and the dressing together in a bowl and add a little bit of salt and pepper and you’ve got a pasta salad. It’ll be better once it’s been in the refrigerator for a bit.

Tomatoes

The heat this summer has been driving me out of the kitchen. It’s really hard to motivate yourself to stand up in a hot room for at least twenty minutes when it’s seven billion degrees outside and your whole body is sticky from the humidity. I was seriously not built for New England weather. All I want to do is drink cold white wine and eat take out and frozen pizza, because it generally doesn’t involve me doing anything at all.

There are a few ideas swimming around in my head, though. I’ve been dreaming about some of the foods my family made when I was a kid, the special occasion things like tacos and won tons which I want to attempt to re-create. And I never thought I’d say this, but I’m starting to look forward to winter, when I can make casseroles and stews again. Sigh. I am just never satisfied. I also realized this morning that Mr. X and I haven’t once been to the farmer’s market this summer, which is just a dirty rotten shame. Perhaps some beautiful, fresh, local produce will lure me back into the kitchen, so I’m making a point to hit it up this week.

I’ve only got four more weeks of work, then three weeks of vacation before I start school. I can’t believe how quickly this summer is passing. It’s a little overwhelming, but I will do my best to get into that kitchen as much as I can before becoming a full-time student again. Who knows what I’ll have time for when I have to study? It might be even less interesting that pasta salad.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 2, 2007 11:22 pm

    Fantastic! I just bought some tahini, not really knowing what I was going to make.

    I’ll throw together a Tahini Rotini Pasta Salad tomorrow – I’ve got some friends coming over, and this will be perfect!

    Thanks!

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