Mediterranean Pecan Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pecan Pasta Salad

Submitted by: Sandy Coughlin, Reluctant Entertainer

This layered pecan pasta salad is an elegant but easy side or main dish. Perfect to serve when hosting a gathering or attending a special occasion, it can easily be customized with seasonal ingredients. This version combines fresh vegetables, oranges, cheese and pecans for a light and bright pasta salad dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta, or other small pasta
  • 4 cups of radicchio, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup halved marinated olives (Kalamata and green)
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup pecan pieces (or pecan halves, chopped), plus optional pecan halves for garnish
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley or mint (or both)
  • 6 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 cara cara orange, cut into slices
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • Lemon vinaigrette and fresh-cracked pepper (optional)

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1/4 cup of salt. When water is bubbling, add in pasta, allow water to come back to a boil, then start timer for about 10 minutes. When pasta is cooked, el dente, drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a large, clear bowl, layer half of the radicchio on the bottom. Sprinkle half of the olives, artichoke, and tomato on top. Next, spread out half of the pasta, 1/2 cup of pecans, half of the parsley, 3 ounces of crumbled feta, and the orange slices.
  3. Add the spinach, then repeat layering steps with the radicchio, olives, artichoke, tomato, pasta, pecans, parsley, feta, and orange.
  4. If using the dressing, add to your taste after layering is complete.*
  5. Crack with fresh pepper and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

*Recipe note: Dressing is a nice touch, but it isn’t necessary, with all of the oils and vinegars from the marinated ingredients.

Nutrition facts

Calories

330

Fat

19g

Sat Fat

3.5g

Sodium

680mg

Carbs

33g

Fiber

3g

Protein

9g

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Pecans possess many impressive health benefits.

When it comes to America’s native nut, great taste is just the beginning. Heart-healthy with power-packed protein, this nutrient-dense nut boasts multiple health-promoting nutrients and bioactive compounds. The pecan has rightfully earned its reputation as a nutrition powerhouse.

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