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Pasta Salad with Arugula and Four Herbs

May 27, 2010

This salad screams “Spring!” and I’m just screaming, period.  All my northern California neighbors will understand–this weather is nuts!  Winter, you’re supposed to be on your way to Australia by now.  You’ve overstayed your welcome.  Scoot!  Scram!  Bye bye!

Okay, rant over.  Until Mother Nature decides to listen to me, I’ll just shift my focus away from this foul weather and allow this lush garden of a salad to transport me to more spring-like conditions.  This salad is so full of light, fresh flavors that I might just believe summer is actually upon us.

A few years ago, I chanced upon a magazine featuring a picture of this herb-loaded salad.  Full of basil, mint, cilantro, and parsley–it looked so good that I promptly bought the magazine.  When I got home, however, I decided that I didn’t like the dressing that was meant to accompany it.  I remember it being a curry-based vinaigrette and as much as I love curry, it just didn’t seem complementary to the rest of the dish.  Fortunately, I had some leftover Italian salsa verde from a party we had a few days before and I was inspired to use it as the base for the dressing.

Italian salsa verde is a parsley-based sauce that is typically used with boiled/grilled meats, similar to an Argentinian chimichurri sauce. In fact, it’s such a favorite in my home that I proudly featured it as one of my earliest posts.

How lucky I was to have had the salsa verde on hand for it satisfied the parsley component of the salad I so wanted to try.  It turned out to be one of the most delicious dishes I have ever prepared.  In fact, if you decide to try only one recipe from this blog, I would recommend this.  While I’ve done my best to show you my favorites so far, I think this would have the most universal appeal.  It has pasta for the carb-lovers, chicken for meat-eaters, arugula and herbs for the vegetarians.

Each bite of this salad delights with a fresh-burst of spring.  The peppery note of the arugula pairs well with the sweet basil, the leafy freshness of cilantro, the clean taste of mint and the vibrancy of the parsley sauce that binds this all together.  The pasta and the chicken add the substance that makes this a savory, filling, complete meal on a plate.

Of course, this salad is very flexible.  You can skip the chicken if you’re a vegetarian or the cilantro even, if you are averse to it.  For me, the basil is the most optional of the ingredients, not because I don’t like it but because I feel that the cilantro, mint and the arugula are the strongest players of this team.  If you’re hungry for spring like I am, I urge you to try this dish; you won’t be disappointed.

This will be my submission for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights.  The Crispy Cook hosts the 165th edition of this weekly event featuring the pasta contributions of my fellow food bloggers.  Check it out.

Pasta Salad with Arugula and Four Herbs

  • 1 lb box of Farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
  • 3 or more cups of fresh arugula
  • 1 handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup or so cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced
  • 1 cup Italian salsa verde (click here for recipe)

Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente, drain and set aside.

Prepare the salsa verde and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, chicken, arugula, basil, cilantro, mint and salsa verde.  If the salsa verde seems to thick, add more fresh lemon juice and drizzle more olive oil as you toss the salad.  Feel free to adjust the proportions to your liking.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 8:30 PM

    I bet the mint really makes this amazing can’t wait to try it!

  2. May 27, 2010 10:40 PM

    What a terrific spring salad! Love arugula and pesto and pasta – the combination is amazing! Can’t wait to try!

  3. May 27, 2010 10:47 PM

    Oh, your salad contains my favorite ingredients! I love arugula, cilantro and bow ties are one of my fave pasta. I will definitely need to try your delicious dressing one of these days. Thank you for sharing.

  4. May 27, 2010 10:51 PM

    Looks so healthy and fresh. Great way to use up excess garden or leftover herbs

  5. May 28, 2010 12:21 AM

    This pasta salad looks wonderful 🙂

  6. May 28, 2010 2:22 AM

    What a lovely idea! I’ll have to give this a try. I like your blog, I shall be back!

  7. May 28, 2010 3:55 AM

    wow incredibly good looking.. seems so delicious and healthy.. must try!

  8. May 28, 2010 5:10 AM

    What a stunning dish. This week I started South Beach Diet, so I’ll be enjoying this with the chicken and without the pasta for now. 😉

    Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  9. May 28, 2010 5:40 AM

    This looks like a wonderful, refreshing pasta salad, great combination’s!

  10. May 28, 2010 6:20 AM

    Love it! It all looks so fresh and green and light… and the salsa verde sounds like the absolutely perfect dressing for this – I can’t imagine mixing curry in with all those lovely green herbs. 😛
    (BTW, I think we stole your summer… you’re gonna have to come up to Canada and pry it out of my warm, sweaty hands, tho)

  11. May 28, 2010 6:31 AM

    This looks fabulous! It looks like the perfect dish to bring to a summer potluck. Oh, and the first part of your post totally made me miss the Bay Area (nutty weather and all) 🙂

    • May 28, 2010 7:20 AM

      I have to say that whenever I’be brought this to a party, people always ask to take home the leftovers. Thanks!

  12. May 28, 2010 6:34 AM

    Love it – Beautiful, healthy, flavorful… If does scream spring!

  13. May 28, 2010 7:09 AM

    Thanks for sending this herbalicious recipe over to Presto Pasta Nights. I have just posted the roundup so you can check out the other fabulous recipes over at the Crispy Cook.

  14. May 28, 2010 1:41 PM

    Most kids hate green but I find it to be so visually appealing, especially food-wise. I love how many herbs this has in it. My kind of dish!

  15. May 28, 2010 5:24 PM

    what a beautiful fresh salad…..the salsa verde is such a wonderful touch!

  16. May 28, 2010 9:19 PM

    I love anything green, and I can taste all the fragrant herbs in this pasta dish! Yes the weather has been ridiculous, I still have heat on! Anyway, let’s get comforted by a beautiful meal like this one and forget about the weather!

  17. May 29, 2010 1:07 AM

    That looks lovely.

    We have had two days of summer and the sun has gone again. It is nearly June what is wrong with the weather?

  18. May 29, 2010 2:39 PM

    There is nothing quite like a fresh and light pasta salad. This looks wonderful and would pair nicely with a variety of other summer eats. Thank you for sharing!

  19. May 29, 2010 5:42 PM

    Your descriptions are so enticing and the salad looks beautiful, I’ve got to try this.

  20. May 29, 2010 7:18 PM

    Love aragula!! Gonna try the vege version of this.

  21. trissalicious permalink
    May 30, 2010 3:43 AM

    Argh – don’t send me the winter weather just yet!! We’ve been having horrible weather… one thing you can send my way though – this lovely salad!

  22. May 30, 2011 12:26 PM

    Having tried this salad in person, I can attest to its deliciousness 🙂 Oh, and it’s just so pretty (not that I generally expect my food to be pretty but it doesn’t hurt- right?) 🙂


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