One day last week, I woke up earlier than normal with the sun shining brightly into my eyes. I never used to consider myself a morning person, but when you don’t have window coverings on the windows of your still-new-ish house – guess what? You wake up with the sun… and as the sun rises earlier and earlier, you do too. I laid there for awhile trying to keep my eyes shut and I drifted into a half-sleep where I dreamed about a sunny, breezy picnic on the beach. Most importantly, I envisioned exactly what I wanted to be eating on that beach picnic, which is when this recipe floated into my mind.
This is basically a big bowl of sunshine where curly noodles intermingle with sunny spirals of yellow squash. It’s full of colorful produce, like tomatoes and green beans, with a few briny bites provided by the artichokes and olives. It’s all tossed in a creamy, tangy (no-mayo) dressing that travels extremely well, making this a perfect dish to bring to a cookout or a dreamy beach picnic.
This recipe is slightly based off of the broccoli tahini pasta salad that so many of you already know and love. That recipe is a favorite of mine as well, but I love THIS one even more. The tangy dressing is made with a tahini base, but instead of mixing water into the dressing like I normally do, I decided to mix it with my go-to Almond Breeze almond milk. Better yet – the Cashew Blend. It’s so creamy and delicious, and it plays so nicely with the tangy flavors in this dressing.
Below is the undressed shot, I just thought these rainbow colors looked so magical together!
While I’ve listed this recipe as a side dish, it can also work as a meal on its own – there’s substantial protein from the navy beans, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds as a wonderful crunch.
Once you toss it with the dressing, it can be served immediately at room temperature OR it can sit in the fridge for up to 2 days. It’s a great make-ahead salad for parties and picnics.
Sunny Creamy Tahini Pasta Salad
- 1 cup haricots verts, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 8 ounces short curly pasta, such as fusilli
- 2 medium yellow squash, spiralized
- 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced into halves or quarters
- ¾ cup cooked navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- scant ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives, sliced in half
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup Almond Breeze Cashew Blend Unsweetened Original
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water nearby. Blanch the haricots verts for 1 minute, then transfer to the ice water. Drain and pat dry.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Make the dressing: In a small-medium bowl, whisk together the milk, tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
- In a very large bowl, combine the pasta, haricots verts, yellow squash, artichoke hearts, navy beans, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and olives. Toss with the dressing. Mix in the parsley, basil, and sunflower seeds. Season to taste with more salt (I add ½ teaspoon).
- This salad can be served immediately at room temperature. It can also be made in advance the day before and chilled. Season to taste before serving.