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Redemption Pasta Salad

Todd and I badly needed a redeeming meal after one Sunday lunch we had to partake in at a restaurant I will not be telling you about. What was born from our hunger and need for fresh, healthy food was this Redemption Pasta Salad. The combination of fresh veggies, soy sausage, beans, spinach, pasta and pesto was so filling and satisfying that my husband thanked me for the redeeming meal I had prepared and for saving his Sunday from disappointment.  Wow, I didn’t know food could do that!

Prior to becoming Vegan I avoided Pesto for it’s high fat content. When I learned that I could make Pesto without cheese, practically cut the fat content in half and still have it taste the same I was hooked. I began making this Vegan Pesto well before I changed my ways – even if you aren’t Vegan give it a try and let me know what you think.

As if this dish already wasn’t green enough with broccoli, asparagus, spinach, zucchini and pesto sauce, I even made this batch with spinach penne noodles.  Have any picky eaters at home?  Try putting all their green vegetables into a pesto pasta salad with spinach noodles and you might have some luck!  I have served this dish as a cold or room temperature pasta salad, however it is also excellent heated up. This recipe will feed a family of 8 or leave you with days and days of leftovers.

Redemption Pasta Salad

Serves 8

1 box of Pasta (preferably Penne)
1 head Broccoli
1 Zucchini
1/2 lb Asparagus (about 12)
1/2 Container Grape Tomatoes, Chopped
2 cans Canelli beans, divided
1/4 Cup Parsley, divided
2 Cups Spinach, chopped
2 Links Soy Apple Sage Sausage, chopped & browned (optional)
Fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Cup Prepared Pesto (see below for recipe)

Pesto

1/2 Cup Walnuts
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
2 Cups loosely packed Basil Leaves
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Canelli Beans
3 Sprigs of Parsley
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 to 1 Cup Olive Oil

  1. Mix together all ingredients, except for the Olive Oil, in a food processor until well combined.
  2. Add Olive Oil until smooth.

Greens Prep

Chop Zucchini, Asparagus and Broccoli into bite sized pieces
Boil 1 inch of water in a shallow pan.
Add Asparagus and cook for 1 minute.
Add Broccoli and Zucchini and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Strain and rinse under cold water.

Salad Assembly

  1. Cook Pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl combine cannelli beans, grape tomatoes, greens mixture and half of the prepared pesto. Stir to coat.
  3. Add cooked Sausage and Spinach and stir to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl combine remaining pesto with the cooked pasta. Add coated pasta to other ingredients.
  5. Top with fresh cracked black pepper, nutritional yeast and parsley.

Keep refrigerated. Serve at room temperature. Try the leftovers warmed up!

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