I tweeted out a pic and mentions of the artichoke pasta salad on Christmas Eve and had several folks who asked me to share the recipe. This is one of my favorite pasta salad recipes. The original came from Cooking Light magazine and I posted one of my adaptations of it, Robyn’s Artichoke Pasta Salad, in 2009. As with most of my recipes, I keep changing and modifying them each time I make them it seems. This happens to be my favorite version so far!
The great thing about this pasta salad is there are not any heavy mayos or creams in it for the dressing. Instead you blend up the artichoke hearts with just a bit of olive oil, lemon, and water to make the smooth dressing to toss into the salad. Now I made this with a traditional pasta, but you could also easily use whole wheat pasta or even a gluten free pasta substitute (please excuse any other ingredients those with gluten intolerances cannot eat in the recipe – I’m not up on all of it). The original salad is fantastic on its own, but today I had a little leftover and so I decided to add some protein by adding some Bumble Bee Tuna. I used Bumble Bee’s Solid White Albacore Prime Fillet today because I wanted those nice big pieces to top off my salad with. You can see in the photo how different that is from the traditional tuna that is pretty well minced up. You could use the other as well, but I would mix that into the salad instead of just putting it on top – just my preference. I squeezed just a bit of fresh lemon on top of the tuna today also and that was it. This was a nice lighter lunch in a more portion controlled plate also than what the last few days have been so it was a good change.
Robyn’s Artichoke Pasta Salad with Tuna Option
- 2 cans (14oz) quartered artichoke hearts, drained (keep the cans individual though)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (this is a time to use good oil since it is not being cooked)
- 2 tbsp water
- Juice from 1 large lemon
- 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 16oz package radiatore pasta, cooked (if you can’t find this shape it is ok, look for another medium size shape that has lots of ridges or nooks and crannies instead)
- 1 – 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered. (I used a mix of heirloom tomatoes in mine – that’s the different colors you see – and it was really great. I highly recommend this if you can find them at your store/garden)
- 1 small red onion, sliced super thin
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- OPTIONAL: Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Prime Tuna Fillet plus fresh lemon juice
Start by making the artichoke dressing. I have used a regular food processor, a mini food processor, and a stick (immersion) blender to make this. I prefer the stick blender because it is less mess, but use what you have. In a bowl combine one of the cans of drained artichokes, olive oil, water, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Pulse together until almost smooth. Take a taste and adjust seasonings as needed, but do not make it too salty as the feta cheese in the finished product will add salt too. Set aside.
In a large bowl place cooked pasta (it can still be warm), the remaining drained artichoke hearts, quartered tomatoes, red onion, and the artichoke dressing. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours. When you are ready to serve add feta cheese and toss well. Enjoy!
OPTIONAL: If you are adding tuna first plate individual servings of the pasta salad. Now top each serving with some of the tuna pieces. Squeeze a little fresh lemon on top. Serve.
You can easily add other ingredients that you want to the salad, olives are a nice addition. Greek seasoning instead of Italian seasoning would be nice. If you have fresh herbs use those if you like either as a replacement in the dressing for the dry herbs or as extra herbs in the salad itself. The original recipe called for thinly sliced fresh spinach leaves which is also very good but it does not hold as well if you have leftovers. I used “plain” canned artichoke hearts and “plain” feta cheese – but if you want to use the marinated and/or flavored varieties feel free, remember the salt content will go up with those options.
Is this a recipe you would try? With or without the Bumble Bee tuna? What other ingredients might you add or substitute in this recipe?
Disclosure: I am a member of the Bumble Bee Foods Bee Squad and as such receive certain privileges from the company. Opinions are always my own.