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Lean Pinto N Pasta Salad
August 01, 2001

By Lynne Bigwood
Northarvest Home Economist

This vegetable, bean and pasta salad recipe is another one that was developed for college foodservice use (50 servings).  It is really an attractive salad. The crunchy vegetables contrast with the soft cooked, mealy pinto beans and curly pasta. It also uses ordinary fresh vegetables  no special ingredients that arent available at small town grocery stores.

The dressing is a little different because it uses pureed navy beans and sour cream as the base for the dressing. I used fat free sour cream because I have it on hand, but the recommended regular sour cream would have probably made it a little creamier. The fat content is so low in this salad that fat free is unnecessary. 

I used a double batch of dressing, twice as much as I had figured out when I cut the recipe down to 5 main-dish-salad servings (1¼ cups each). The single batch just didnt moisten the ingredients. Actually, I ended up with 9 or 10 cups of salad, (old, green Tupperware bowl full); so maybe my math wasnt so good! I must have used vegetables that were too large, plus the whole can or piece. Both probably ganged up on me!  If the entire piece is used, fresh vegetables vary quite a lot, according to the size of that broccoli head, pepper, zucchini, etc. The dressing is quite mild.  If I make it again, I will double the mustard, garlic, and parsley to add more flavor.  In my opinion, it also needed salt.  It would be possible to cut the recipe in half and use the leftovers in another dish.

Both the guests who ate it and our neighbors, who got the last half a bowl of leftover salad, thought it was good.  Those who like mild food offered the most compliments.  Make the quantity and flavor to fit your family/guests.

Lean Pinto N Pasta Salad
YIELD: 9-10 cups salad (1/2 cup salad; or 1-3/4 cups main dish)

  • 2 cups uncooked rotini or penne (curly) pasta
  • 1 15.5-ounce can pinto beans, drained, rinsed
  • 2 small (6") zucchini, diced
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, cleaned, chopped
  • Broccoli florets from 1 small head
  • 1 cup peeled, sliced carrots

    1. Cook pasta according to package directions; cool.

    2. Combine pasta and remaining ingredients in bowl; toss well.

    Creamy Bean Dressing (1 batch)

  • ½ cup cooked navy beans, drained, rinsed
  • 3 Tablespoons regular sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive or salad oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil leaves, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 (or more) Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, optional

    1. Process all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth, adding enough water to make medium, pourable consistency.

    2. Double the dressing recipe if amount of salad ingredients exceeds 5 - 6 cups.


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