This salad began with a recipe I found years ago on a plastic bag of some really good Hodgson Mill vegetable rotini. Our first taste suggested the need for adjustments, but we liked the combination of beans, peppers and pasta, so I persevered. After three or four variations I settled on the recipe below.
Like many dishes, this salad tastes better if you let it sit for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to blend. During that time the pasta will absorb some of the oil and vinegar. Stir the salad well before serving and add a teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of lemon or lime juice if the pasta looks dry.
1 package (12 or 16 ounces) vegetable rotini
1 can* red kidney beans
1 can* garbanzo beans
1 can* cut green beans
1 small red onion
3/4 red bell pepper
1/4 green bell pepper
1/2 cup sweet and spicy mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. powdered garlic
Freshly ground black pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste (1/8 tsp. each to start).
3 T parsley
*About 15 ounce cans
Cook the pasta al dente. While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, wash and chop the onion and dice the peppers into 1/3 to 1/2 inch pieces and put them into a large bowl. Drain and rinse the beans and put them into the bowl. Wash and chop the parsley and set it aside.
When the pasta is done, drain and rinse it under cool water and add it to the bowl. The pasta should be warm but not hot when you mix it with the vegetables. Add the oil, vinegar, juice, mustard, parsley and spices. Stir the salad well, let sit it for five minutes, then stir again and taste. Adjust the seasonings as desired.
NOTES: I normally use Woeber’s Sweet and Spicy Mustard but any sweet mustard works. If I use a 16 ounce package of rotini I usually increase the other ingredients slightly. If you like bell peppers, you could use a whole red pepper and half a green pepper. Start with the recommended amounts of the mustard, oil, vinegar and spices, then taste and add more to suit your preferences. You’ll end up with a version that you really like and have fun doing it!