12ouncesbrown rice penne or fusilli pastaor whole wheat if gluten isn’t an issue
½cupdiced roasted red pepperpacked in water, not oil
½cupthinly sliced black olives
1large avocadopitted, peeled, and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
First whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to directions for al dente (1-2 minutes short of the directed cooking time). Once cooked, rinse under cold water and drain well. Transfer to a big bowl and add most of the dressing, reserving 2 or 3 tablespoons. Mix well. Set aside to cool, either on the counter or in the fridge.
Right before serving, add the reserved dressing and toss the pasta to “wake” it up. Now add all the chopped veggies and avocado and gently mix. Season generously with salt and pepper, garnish with some fresh basil if desired, and serve immediately.
This pasta salad works best when the pasta is cooked no more than 2 to 3 hours before serving – just enough time to let it cool and absorb the dressing. If cooked too early, the pasta will become hard and chewy.