Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Healthy Eats: Arugula & Goat Cheese Pasta Salad

I've said it once, I'll say it again: there is something  so wonderful about cooking with friends. Opening a bottle (or 2, or 3) of wine, brainstorming dishes together, deliberating over spices, rubs and marinades... it can't be beat. This past weekend Quinn and I got together with two of his good friends from high school to grill high quality tri tip and chicken breasts purchased at the Los Angeles Original Farmer's Market.

Quinn took charge of the tri tip, mixing up an alluring garlic marinade and grilling it 25-30 minutes on each side. As the savory scent wafted in from the grill, the meat cut away to reveal tender and rosy pink succulent slices of heaven. Aric discovered that taking pieces of the tri tip and adding a bite of  balsamic-Dijon portobello mushroom became a glorious union of tastes. 

(I promptly stole the portobello balsamic idea and have been making it for myself all week, no joke. Slice up the mushrooms and dip in an improvised to taste blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. You just want a little kick of Dijon, pour over the mushrooms and either saute or grill as you like it. 1 mushroom: approx 150 calories.)

Along with the mushroom caps, Daniel brushed the chicken breasts with a ponzu sesame oil sauce. The result was nothing short of spectacular. While the boys handled the meat, I came up with a light side to accompany their grilled masterpieces. I settled on a spring pasta salad with arugula, vegetables and goat cheese. With such robust main courses, it turned out to be a pleasant match.

Arugula & Goat Cheese Pasta Salad
  • 1 box pasta (I used Barilla whole wheat rotini)
  • Arugula- 2-3 handfuls, chopped
  • Roasted red & yellow peppers (I used a jar of Trader Joe's marinated peppers)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1/2 container of goat cheese (or to taste)
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup pasta, 290 calories 

The pasta is pretty simple to make, and can be served warm or cold. I opted for cold this time around to pair with the chicken and tri-tip. While your pasta is boiling, chop arugula, roasted peppers and tomatoes. Once the pasta is finished rinse it off to keep it from cooking and pour into a large serving bowl. Mix in goat cheese and toss with the peppers and tomatoes. Add the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, toss in the arugula and serve.

All together, we had 5lbs of chicken breast and tri tip, grilled squash, peppers and mushrooms and my pasta salad. Not too shabby for a Saturday night! 


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