Stealth Health Vegan Pasta Salad for Potluck and Picnics
Jun 4, 2017
Linda Watson in Just Mayo, pasta salad, picnic recipe, potluck recipe, savory

I first made this pasta salad for an all-salad potluck dinner with several girlfriends. It's classic, with crispy red bell pepper and celery balanced by tender noodles and baked beets. I used white pasta instead of my usual whole-wheat rotini because I didn't think they would try any brown pasta salad. It's party pretty, topped with beets cut into little stars. How good is it? My dear neighbor Philippa texted me: That was the best noodle salad I have eaten in years. No -- EVER!!!

Stealth Health Vegan Pasta Salad with Beets

But this pasta salad still has stealth health cred. I used plant-based Just Mayo, not regular mayonnaise or the Miracle Whip of my childhood. Just Mayo won the Serious Eats mayo taste test against traditional egg-based products. It's made with lentils and lemon juice, not weird fake food. Using Just Mayo is an easy way to shift toward a plant-based diet. [No disclaimer needed: this is from the heart with no sponsorship involved.] All the other ingredients are organic. I served chickpeas on the side, mixed with a little dressing, for people who wanted a little extra plant-powered protein.

Active time: 30 minutes. Total time: 90 minutes. Serves at least 12.

1 pound shaped white pasta, such as macaroni or rotini

2 baked beets, chilled, peeled, and sliced

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped

1 cup Just Mayo

3 tablespoons lemon juice (the juice from one large lemon)

1 tablespoon spicy German-style mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill leaf, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill leaf

2 cups cooked chickpeas, optional

salt to taste

1 avocado, optional

  1. Cook pasta according using the low-water method in Wildly Affordable Organic or according to package directions. While pasta cooks, prepare vegetables. If desired, use a cookie cutter or a paring knife to cut sliced beets into shapes for garnish and refrigerate. Chop beet trimmings.
  2. In a small bowl, mix Just Mayo, lemon juice, mustard, and dill to make dressing. If you want a pinker dressing, stir in a teaspoon or two of beet juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  3. If you will be serving chickpeas on the side, put them in a small serving bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of dressing.
  4. When pasta is done, drain it and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Stir in dressing and then bell pepper, celery, and beet trimmings. Stir in chickpeas if not serving on the side. Transfer pasta salad to a serving bowl. Chill for at least an hour.
  5. Just before serving, chop avocado if using and stir into salad. Top with beet garnish. Best slightly chilled or at room temperature. Refrigerate within four hours. Keeps for five days if kept chilled. If it warmed up on a buffet table for a few hours but then was refrigerated, use any extra within a day or two. Just Mayo should make it stay safe longer than an egg-based product. I've just asked Hampton Creek, which makes Just Mayo, and will let you know what they say.
Article originally appeared on Cook for Good, home of Wildly Affordable Organic and Fifty Weeks of Green (http://cookforgood.com/).
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