Sometimes a recipe is so good that a taste memory survives in the recesses of your brain for years, no matter how addled that brain might be.
So it is with this Artichoke, Tomato and Spinach Pasta Salad, the recipe for which I found in Cooking Light Magazine in 1999. I made it several times during 1999 and 2000 then lost track of the recipe. My recipe collecting strategy back then was to rip pages out of magazines and stuff them in a cookbook. It was such a reliable and efficient method. Not.
I’ve been craving pasta and artichokes and remembered this pasta salad recipe. Of course, I couldn’t find the magazine article I’d saved nearly two decades ago but a few minutes on Google yielded the recipe I remember.
One of the reasons I like this pasta salad is the dressing, which is creamy and rich without any dairy products so you don’t have to be concerned with keeping it refrigerated. This makes it easy for a picnic or work lunch.
In fact, sometimes I make the dressing to use with a green salad, I like it so much. Blending two artichoke hearts with the lemon juice and olive oil and garlic is a magic combination.
Keep in mind you can play around with this recipe. I used grape tomatoes and spinach but use whatever vegetable and greens you have on hand.
The original recipe called for a tablespoon of water. Whenever a recipe calls for water, if it’s a small amount, I substitute a liquid with flavor. In this case, I swapped the water for a tablespoon of the artichoke liquid.
- 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon artichoke liquid reserved from can
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 cups cooked pasta shells or spirals (about 5 ounces uncooked pasta)
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 1 cup chopped tomato or 1 cup whole grape or cherry tomatoes
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, chop the garlic, spinach, artichoke (save two artichoke hearts for dressing) and tomato-if using whole. Pour into large bowl.
- Blend two artichoke hearts, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and garlic in blender or food processor.
- Set aside.
- Once pasta is finished cooking, drain and rinse in cold water. Pour pasta into bowl of veggies.
- Pour dressing over the veggie/pasta mixture and toss gently to combine.
- Sprinkle with kosher salt and chill for two hours.
- Serves six as a side dish.