Thursday, May 4, 2017

Nikki's Pasta, Sunflower Seed, Avocado and Tomato Salad

by Karen Rose Smith

This time of year, my cooking lends to lighter meals.  Instead of soups, I concentrate on salads.  My characters in my mysteries like to cook.  My sleuth's sister Nikki is a caterer.  I attributed this salad recipe to her in STAGED TO DEATH, my first Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery.  It's great to take along to picnics and covered dishes.  I hope you enjoy it!

Nikki's Pasta, Sunflower Seed, Avocado and Tomato Salad

Salad Ingredients

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Piccolini (wheel) pasta (boil in 4 quarts of water)
2 cups (about 30) cherry or grape tomatoes
1 avocado
1 teaspoon salt (will be used for pasta water)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh oregano minced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Dressing ingredients

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Mix vinegar, oil, pepper and sugar


Bring four quarts of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add 1 1/2  cups of Piccolini (wheels) pasta. Boil for 7-8 minutes. Drain.  Run cold water over it and drain again. We don't want it to melt the Feta!

Halve cherry tomatoes. Add to large bowl. Halve avocado, remove seed, scoop from shell, and cube. Add to tomatoes. When pasta has cooled, add that and then the sunflower seeds and oregano.  Mix dressing, stir, and pour it over all.  Toss lightly. Add crumbled Feta cheese and toss lightly again. Refrigerate. 

Serves 6-8


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