The Politics of a (more veggie than pasta) Pasta Salad

Sometimes I think that it’s pretty amusing that I think that I have the right to write a blog that revolves mainly around food because I am not just a vegetarian, but I am a vegetarian who has a list of vegetables (and one fruit) that she just doesn’t like and pretty much refuses to eat.

I do not like:

-onions (red, yellow, white, green, scallions, chives, shallots)

-bell peppers (red are less offensive than green, but still…and roasted red, at that!)

-unfancy black olives (you know the ones I’m talking about, don’t you Mexican food restaurants???)

-avocados (not for lack of trying but it turns out that they do not agree with my delicate body chemistry)


Despite all of this, I am doing my best to keep Gemma from inheriting my issues with these foods.  I feed her avocados and bananas on a regular basis, and I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job hiding my disgust.  She loves them both with a fiery passion.  The others…well…I just don’t cook with them, so she doesn’t come into contact with them all that often, but I don’t shy away from them when she does.  She has a pretty sophisticated palate for a toddler, and I’m doing my best to keep it that way.  She will figure out where her own tastes lie as she gets older, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I’ve had to deal with being made fun of for being a vegetarian, and for being kind of a picky one at that, and to those people I say…whatever!

I am a grown up for fuck’s sake!  I know what I like!  I don’t have to like everything that everyone makes, nor do I expect everyone to like everything that I make (except for Jake and Gemma who I expect to lie through their teeth at me until the day I die)!  I make what I like, you make what you like…(but don’t be offended when I show up with my own food…)  The pasta salad that follows is what I bring to functions when I’m not sure if there’s going to be enough that I can eat.  Even the most gung-ho meat eaters can never get enough of it!

So I proudly present to you my (actually very famous…at least in our circle of friends)

(More veggies than pasta) Pasta Salad

very loosely adapted from Sunset Magazine a few years ago


 *8 ounces rotini pasta (I use Barilla Plus)

*3 medium zucchini (halved lengthwise, sliced into thirds, then cut into bite-sized pieces)

*3 generous handfuls of baby spinach

*40 Black Beldi olives (pitted and halved)

*3 tablespoons (1+1+1) of extra virgin olive oil

*Champagne vinegar

*Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste

To Make:

*Toss zucchini pieces with 1 tablespoon of olive oil as well as some salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

*Preheat oven to 425.

*When ready, roast zucchini (on a parchment paper lined baking sheet) for 25 minutes.  Turn thoroughly and return to oven for about 15 more minutes.

*Add spinach to a large salad bowl.

*Cook pasta according to instructions (10-12 minutes)

*Add pasta directly to the bowl of spinach.  (Do not rinse as your goal here is to begin wilting the spinach leaves)

*Toss pasta+spinach with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil as well as some of the champagne vinegar.

*As soon as the zucchini has finished roasting, add it to the pasta and spinach (to further wilt the spinach), then toss the whole mixture with 1 (more) tablespoon of olive oil and some more of the vinegar.

*Add the olives, mix thoroughly, and put in the fridge until ready to eat!

Survey Says:

 This is awesome!  It is really light and refreshing and so unlike pasta salads from way back when!  You can always add more oil if you feel like you need it, but don’t weigh it down too much!  You can also incorporate whatever veggies you want to…these were just what I had on hand at the time!  This is ALWAYS a big hit at parties!


18 responses to this post.

  1. Looks delicious!! I’m also a picky eater, but I think I’ll try out this recipe!!


  2. 🙂 It works really well as a template to add whatever you have or like!


  3. This looks fantastic!

    I’m toying with the idea of veganism – still working on vegetarianism. I just feel so much better on a vegan diet. It is hard to go unnoticed as a vegan/vegetarian. People really think we’re being picky rather than understanding that the avoidance of certain foods is a responsible means of managing our own good health. I feel your frustration! Anyway – as you said – whatever! Do your thing, girl!


    • So true that it’s hard to go unnoticed! When I stopped eating meat about 19 years ago it was really difficult. It’s more mainstream now, but still not always easy. I don’t think that I could ever truly go vegan, but as I’ve been writing the blog I’ve realized that I cook a lot of vegan dishes and just add cheese as a condiment at the end.


  4. Posted by lifewithklaraandnils on April 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I am in the midst of trying a slightly adapted version. will tell you how it turns out…


  5. Posted by celine perreard-allen on April 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    ah.. it’s the Champagne vinegar, your secret! I knew there was something! it’s sooo delicious and healthy!


  6. Posted by celine on April 30, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I have noticed your growing talent for taking pictures of your little marvels!


  7. Yummy… That looks amazing.


  8. My little son could join you, he does not like bananas at all, never did and we are living in a banana country (or should I say banana republic 😉 ), can you imagine. Your recipe looks great, I guess I need to give it a try.


  9. MMMM love this – spinach and olives are a great combo!


  10. This sounds really good and really easy (which is key!). I have never used anything fancier than balsamic vinegar. I need to branch out lol.

    Do you think this could work as a warm pasta salad with coconut oil instead of olive oil? I ask because my son has a fatty-acid oxidation disorder & coconut oil has a higher % of medium chain triglycerides, which he can metabolize. The problem is that coconut oil would solidify on a cold salad (which might be, um, interesting lol).

    Oh, have you had Vidalia onions? I eat them like apples and I have since I was a kid. I also pull scallions up & eat them straight from the ground…


    • Easy is the best! I think it would actually be GREAT warm! Give it a try and let me know how it turns out!

      Onions are just really hard for me…always have been…if red ones are sauteed within an inch of their life with other things, I can manage…I’m a weirdo!


  11. That looks delicious! Wow, no avocados? Say it ain’t so. 😉


    • 🙂 I have tried SO hard with avocados, but apparently I have a sensitivity to them and they make me SICK! It makes me look like a jackass here in New Mexico!


  12. I love pasta salad and that just looks amazing. I’m going to try it out!

    Stopping by from Sunday Funday.


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