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Surprise! Welcoming a new Pea to the Pod…

by Aggies Kitchen on August 31, 2011

Don’t get all crazy now…that Pea does not belong to me. I know my mom and mom-in-law just got all kinds of excited. They probably aren’t even reading the rest of this right now…


That Pea belongs to a special someone else…someone a group of food blogger buddies are virtually celebrating today with a surprise Baby Shower….SURPRISE Maria!!  Are you feeling the Love?

For those of you who don’t know….Maria and her sweet husband Josh are expecting their 1st baby, a baby boy, and he’s due next month…just around the corner!


Some of you may already know Maria from her delicious blog Two Peas and Their Pod. Maria and I have been friends pretty much since we both started blogging….around the same time in 2008. I love this girl. I have been lucky to have been able to visit with her the last two summers in her part of the country, Salt Lake City, and can’t wait till the next time we have the opportunity to spend time again. Her and Josh are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and I’m just over the moon excited to see them as parents. Don’t get me all teary now…I just love babies.


Let’s talk about this party instead. And with this party comes lots of cute stuff…and lots of good food.

I decided to bring something I always look for at a party…a good pasta salad. I’ve been making this pasta salad forever and it has always been a hit at get-togethers. What’s special about this salad is the dressing…oh how I love this dressing. It’s simple, its fresh and it goes perfectly with pasta and fresh veggies.

I make this pasta with whole wheat rotini, fresh veggies and chickpeas. The dressing is a perfect blend of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, dijon and lots of fresh basil. Yep…the basil is what makes this dressing so good.

Pasta Salad with Balsamic Basil Vinaigrette

Recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen

1 box whole wheat rotini pasta (whole wheat is totally optional)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut in small florets
1 small red onion, quartered and sliced thin
1 cup black or kalamata olives, halved
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (I prefer Bush’s Beans garbanzos)
good pinch of course salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

For Dressing:
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
good pinch of coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
big handful of fresh basil leaves

Cook pasta according to directions.

Place broccoli florets in a colander. When pasta is ready to drain pour over broccoli florets. Drain well and put in large bowl. Set aside and let cool.

In the meantime, make your dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Process ingredients for about 30 seconds until well blended and emulsified.

Add 1/4 of dressing to pasta and broccoli and gently toss. Once combined add the tomatoes, onions, beans and olives to pasta salad along with more dressing. Do not use all of dressing, save some for right before serving because pasta salad will soak up most of dressing and may dry out a bit. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Add additional dressing as desired and gently toss salad before serving. Taste for salt and pepper, I usually add a good pinch of both before serving. Serve with bowl of grated Parmesan cheese for garnish.

Enjoy this recipe and all the other crafts and yummy food from the rest of the gang! Stop by and say hi to them and of course Maria!

Maria and Josh…we love you guys and are so looking forward to meeting the third Pea!! Congratulations and Best Wishes!! xoxo


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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 31, 2011 at 6:20 am

Lovely recipe! And congrats to Maria & Josh!


Shelby August 31, 2011 at 6:24 am

Very exciting news! I’m past the having them stage myself but sure would love to have grandchildren appear on the scene….sigh, I love babies! Congrats to Maria & Josh!


Lina August 31, 2011 at 6:29 am

Congrats to Maria & Josh. But, Aggie you almost gave me a heart attack!! LOL Love the recipe. Definitely going to try out that dressing on my next pasta salad.


Caroline @ chocolate and carrots August 31, 2011 at 6:42 am

This is so cool! Congratulations Maria and Josh! :-) Yay!


Erica August 31, 2011 at 6:54 am

What a cute idea! Im so happy for maria and josh- they are going to be fantastic parents


Marian (Sweetopia) August 31, 2011 at 7:20 am

Yummmm, This is looking reallllly good, for breakfast! =)


Robyn | Add a Pinch August 31, 2011 at 7:23 am

This looks yummy, Aggie!


Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray August 31, 2011 at 8:02 am

What a nice thing for everyone to do for Josh and Maria! So thoughtful! Pasta salad look great too :)


Sandy @ RE August 31, 2011 at 8:27 am

Pasta salad is an awesome dish to serve at a baby shower! I just know Maria and Josh will be blessed today. They are just the best! Thanks for sharing, Aggie!


Barbara @ Barbara Bakes August 31, 2011 at 8:50 am

Pasta salad is perfect for any party. I need a good dressing recipe. Thanks for sharing it. Next time you make it to Salt Lake we’ll finally get to meet too.


Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. August 31, 2011 at 9:11 am

great looking pasta salad! Love all of your pictures!


kelley August 31, 2011 at 9:21 am

You’re too funny! I’m sure my parents would feel the same way. In fact, I’m having a little baby pea envy right now. I love babies……..your pasta salad looks great!


Wenderly August 31, 2011 at 9:36 am

Such beautiful photos and what a lovely pasta salad!


Bev Weidner August 31, 2011 at 9:37 am

I just love this! Huuuuge congrats to Maria, darling! My virtual wishes are morphing through the screen RIGHT NOW! xoxoxo!


Maria August 31, 2011 at 9:46 am

Those pictures made me miss you! Thanks so much for participating in my shower! What a fun surprise! I love the pasta salad-perfect for my shower:) You are the best! Please come visit the little pea soon:) Miss you! xoxo


Kristen August 31, 2011 at 10:20 am

Such a healthy salad – and you crack me up. I’m sure your mom is slowly coming up off the floor now :)


Cookin' Canuck August 31, 2011 at 11:06 am

I would be so happy to sit myself down in front of a bowl of that pasta salad. It looks wonderful, Aggie!


katie from Katie's Cucina August 31, 2011 at 11:11 am

I too love a great pasta salad at parties. I can’t wait to give yours a try! Congrats to Maria & her hubby (I love their blog)!


Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids August 31, 2011 at 11:37 am

That looks amazing! I cannot wait to try it.


Christina August 31, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I always look for a pasta salad to! I love a vinegar based dressing instead of a mayo based one, it’s much lighter and you don’t have to worry about it sitting out on the counter for a few hours. All it needs is a good stir every once in a while and it’s good to go!


Jamie (Thrifty Veggie Mama) August 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I love pasta salad! This dressing looks great. And what a great idea to have a virtual baby shower!


Becky at Vintage Mixer August 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Great to see you again. We met briefly at the photography class. Your pasta salad looks especially good! Now I’m really needing some lunch after looking at all of these shower recipes!!


Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen August 31, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Yum! Love a good pasta salad like this one with lots of great flavors and colors.


Lindsey Crosland August 31, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I was wondering how many “servings” this makes? I’m trying to decide if I’ll need to double or triple the recipe. I’ll be making it for a labor day party this weekend. Thanks!


Aggies Kitchen August 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Hi Lindsey! I would have to say this would make 8-10 servings about the size of what I show on the plate. It makes a good amount, but will depend on how many people and how much food you are serving.


Lindsey December 5, 2011 at 3:02 am

Wow! I made this for a big group trip to Lake Powell and it was a hit! It travelled well and the dressing soaked in to the pasta over the two days we were there, making it better with time :-) I will be making this for our business launch in January. Thank you again for sharing this recipe!


Aggies Kitchen December 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Thanks Lindsey!! I know what you mean about the dressing soaking into the pasta…always better the next day! :) Thanks so much for the feedback, glad you enjoyed the recipe!


marla {family fresh cooking} August 31, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Aggie I LOVE the looks of your go-to party pasta salad (wish I had it for dinner tonight.) Soooo glad you participated in this special online baby shower for the baby pea. Such a sweet post & I love all the photos :) xo


Mercedes August 31, 2011 at 10:04 pm

This looks delicious and healthy! I may have to add it to my Labor Day menu!


Sommer@ASpicyPerspective September 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

Awe Aggie, what fun! The pasta salad looks great and congratulations to Maria and Josh!


bridget {bake at 350} September 1, 2011 at 11:53 am

Oh, yes please!!! That looks terrific!


Caneel September 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Awww, I love this post – what a cute idea! And what a yummy recipe, too!


JulieD September 2, 2011 at 7:58 am

I love that you added dijon and balsamic vinegar to this salad. It’s really beautiful, Aggie! Congratulations to Maria and Josh!


Lori @ RecipeGirl September 2, 2011 at 10:04 am

Terrific choice= I always look for the pasta salad at parties too!


Liz September 2, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Very sweet and quite the spread! best wishes to the Mom and Dad to-be


Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats September 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm

What a delicious looking pasta salad! I love the dressing combo or balsamic and dijon:)


Lisa {With Style and Grace} September 4, 2011 at 3:41 am

What a great post, Aggie! I’m definitely going to make this dish – it’s all my favorite ingredients! bookmarking it now


Lee aka Kaptainkosh September 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Hi Aggie-

First off congrats on your new arrival and second, I love your blog! I recently started cooking and decided to start a blog as well. I live in NYC and my blog is called “Cookin’ with the Kaptain”

Take a look and let me know what you think! Thanks – KK


Cara September 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I love that you guys did this as a surprise. What a delicious shower!


Silvia September 17, 2011 at 11:56 am

your salad looks wonderful!I’m gonna try it soon!


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