I was in need of a pasta fix the other day, but because of the weather, I really didn't want a hot dish. I was munching on some Multigrain Tostitos while thinking about it, so that made me think of Guacamole. I decided to combine the two to come up with this Guacamole Pasta Salad. You've got those great Guacamole flavors and a Pasta Salad without the guilt of all that mayonnaise. I call that a win (but I really do love mayo)!
1 lb cavatappi or other pasta of choice
1 c of your favorite salsa
1 sm red onion, diced
Tomatoes, diced (I used a 12 oz carton of small mixed)
Juice of 2 limes
1 bunch cilantro
1 lg or 2 sm cloves garlic
salt and pepper
- Boil your pasta in salted water to al dente. I like the cavatappi because it's hearty enough to stand up to the bold flavors, and the ridges give the sauce something to cling to.
- Drain the pasta and rinse in cold water to cool down. If you have a colander that fits your pot, just pour out the hot water and fill the pot with cold with the colander set inside so the water will cool down your pasta and the pot - that way, you can let it sit for a minute, then lift out the colander and pour the drained pasta back into the cooled pot so you have more room for stirring and don't need to dirty another bowl.
- Stir 1 cup of salsa into the pasta. That will keep the pasta from sticking together while you address your other ingredients, and the pasta can start sucking up some of that flavor.
- Because onions come in a bazillion sizes and I really didn't measure, I would suggest dicing your onion and adding it a little at a time until it looks like a good ratio. You can always throw the extra into another dish, or freeze it for future use. As for the tomatoes, I used a 12 oz variety pack for color and sliced them all in different directions - some in rings, some quartered, etc. Stir the onion and tomatoes into the pasta.
- Cilantro can be very sandy, so rinse very well, then squeeze dry in a clean dish towel or paper towels. You can use the stems if you like, but I pull the leave off of the larger stems and only leave the small ones.
- In a blender or food processor, puree together half of the cilantro with two of the avocados, the garlic, lime juice, and a bit of salt and pepper. If you haven't worked with avocados before, slice around them lengthwise and twist to open. To remove the pit, you can either scoop it out with a spoon, or hit it with the blade of a knife and twist to release - then scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
- Stir the sauce into the pasta, then chop and stir in most of the remaining cilantro, leaving some to sprinkle on top.
- Dice the remaining avocado and gently stir into the pasta.
- Transfer to serving bowl/platter and sprinkle with reserved cilantro.
Normally, if making Guacamole, when storing the leftovers, I would press a sheet of plastic wrap directly over the top, then also cover the bowl, because the air will darken the avocado. In this instance, however, because the avocado was pureed with the cilantro, it's already darker than normal, so I didn't bother.