*Obviously, with the feta cheese, this was not vegan; however, there are vegan alternatives, which I may try next time. This is one of those relatively rare occasions when I've still bought cheese for cooking.
Makes: 6 (2 cup) servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
12 ounces uncooked whole grain spiral pasta
1 (5- to 6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) box grape tomatoes, halved
1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, rinse and drain the spinach and beans separately, leaving both to drain.
Also, in a large mixing bowl, whisk the lemon peel, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper together.
Gently stir the drained spinach and beans, tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, onions and garlic into the dressing mixture, then set aside.
Transfer the cooked pasta to a large colander, rinse under ice cold running water until well-chilled, then drain thoroughly. (I sometimes return the drained pasta to the stockpot and stir in a bunch of ice cubes to chill the pasta quickly).
Toss the chilled pasta into the remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl until well mixed.
Serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.
I made many changes to the original recipe, both in the ingredients and in the procedure:
1) I completely re-ordered the procedure, eliminating a 2-hour "standing time"
2) I substituted whole grain pasta for regular pasta, thus significantly increasing the dietary fiber
3) I substituted cannellini beans for great northern beans
4) I substituted dried oregano for 1 Tablespoon snipped fresh oregano and omitted 1 Tablespoon snipped fresh thyme
5) I substituted sweet onions for 1/4 cup sliced green onions
6) I substituted grape tomatoes for 1/4 cup snipped dried tomatoes
7) I added kalamata olives
8) I omitted the shaved Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese; however, I would have used it, if I'd had it