This pasta salad was unbelievably good! And it only took 30 minutes to prepare!
The beauty of this pasta salad is that you can replace the ingredients with similar ones in the family. Broccolini instead of rapini, orzo pasta instead of round pastina and if you don’t have cauliflower, you can go with squash or sweet potato.
For Oven-Roasted Cauliflower:
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut in small florets
- 2 cloves of garlic
- smoked paprika
- fresh thyme and rosemary
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
- 1 head of rapini
- 1 cup of round pastina
- shallots, minced
- 5-10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 avocado (optional)
- pine nuts
For the Cashew Vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (if you don’t have cashews, you can use ¼ cup of pine nuts and increase the amount of olive oil by 2-3 tbsp)
- 1/2 small lemon
- 10 large leaves of fresh basil
- 5 leaves of fresh mint
- 5-6 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of vegan mayo or soft tofu (if you don’t have either, no big deal)
- 1 tsp of dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
Preheat over to 400 degrees. In a roasting pan, put the cauliflower florets. Cut the head of garlic in half or leave it whole and add it to the pan. I like to add a whole clove of garlic since Karine loves it! Sprinkle cauliflower with olive oil, thyme, rosemary, and smoked paprika. Give it a quick stir and put it in the oven for 20 minutes, then stir and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Incorporate all the ingredients in a mini mixer (I use the Magic Mini Bullet). Mix until the dressing has a nice creamy and chunky consistency. I like to leave some chunks of cashews for added crunch.
Cook the pastina al-dente according to package instructions. Steam the rapini for about 10 minutes until tender, then drain the excess water by pressing them into paper towels. Cut them in small pieces.
Let’s start assembling the pasta salad! In a large bowl, add the rapini, pastina, shallots, cherry tomatoes, and roasted cauliflower. Dress the mix with the creamy cashew vinaigrette and add a little more olive oil into the mix.
Plate and add the sliced avocado and some pine nuts. And you’re done! Enjoy!