pasta perfect

Ease the queasies with this simple summer salad.


Recently, my husband and I were asked to bring a dish to our church potluck picnic. Ten weeks pregnant with my second child, I was suffering from those first-trimester doldrums that include nausea, fatigue and some very strong food aversions. I needed to make something healthful for my baby and me that was easy to prepare and not highly spiced. That’s when I remembered one of my favorite childhood dishes — bow tie pasta salad.

I took out all the fresh vegetables I had on hand, opened a can of beans and boiled some pasta bows to re-create a meal reminiscent of my youth. This salad is perfect for pregnancy: It’s packed with important vitamins, meeting nearly one-fifth of the daily prenatal requirement for both iron and folic acid and a third of the daily requirement for fiber.

Besides reminding me of my childhood, the dish abated my nausea and brought me comfort. Bow tie pasta salad is now standard fare at our house.

Olive-Lemon Salad Dressing

Serves 6

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Juice of 1 large lemon

7 tablespoons olive oil

1 large clove garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix mustard with lemon juice. Add olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the pasta salad.

Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Serves 6

1 tablespoon diced onion

Salt and pepper, to taste

16 ounces bow tie pasta

1 16-ounce can black beans, drained but not rinsed

6 Roma tomatoes, diced

2 cups packed fresh spinach

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups whole fresh green beans

2 tablespoons red wine (alcohol will evaporate during cooking)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Boil water in a large pot. Add onion, salt and pepper before pasta is put in to boil. Meanwhile, combine black beans, tomatoes, spinach and garlic in large bowl. Toss well; set aside.

Place green beans and wine in bowl. Cover; microwave 3 minutes. Drain and add to vegetable mixture.

Drain pasta; toss with vegetables. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 15 minutes.

Remove garlic from dressing. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well.

Nutritional analysis per serving (11/2 cups pasta salad and 1/6 of the dressing): 603 calories, 30 percent fat (19.9 grams), 56 percent carbohydrate (85.1 grams), 14 percent protein, 197 milligrams calcium, .3 milligram vitamin B6, 2.4 milligrams zinc, 5.9 milligrams iron, 10 grams fiber, 172.6 micrograms folic acid.