Pasta Salad with Roasted Carrots and Sunflower Seed Dressing

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This recipe uses toasted sunflower seeds. If you have raw seeds, then bake them in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes at 350 degrees before you start cooking. If you are using salted sunflower seeds, then slightly reduce the quantity.

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of small carrots or 24 ounces of carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (kosher)
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 225g of dried pasta or ½ a pound. You can use the small variety of pasta, such as strozzapreti, Gemelli or casarecce.

Dressing

  • 2/3 cup or 90g dried, roasted, shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoon of grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  • 1 big, peeled garlic clove
  • Fresh, finely grated lemon zest
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon red paper flakes
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil. You might need more.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice from ½ a lemon

Start by first cooking the carrots. Preheat the oven to 50 degrees. Chop off both ends of the carrot. Keep some of the carrot greens. You are going to use them when making the salad dressing. You can either wash the carrots or peel them. Sprinkle some oil, salt, and pepper on the carrots and then spread them out on the baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the carrots become soft enough for a knife to easily pierce through them. If you are using thicker carrots, then bake for up to 20 minutes.

Then cook the pasta. Boil it in a pan of hot boiling, salted water. Boil it for a shorter duration than suggested on the packaging. The pasta should be cooked but still, have a bite to it. Leave it to drain and cool down in a large bowl.

The next thing is to make the dressing. Use either a food processor or a blender. Put together the sunflower seeds, pepper flakes, lemon, garlic, lemon zest, parmesan (optional), black pepper and greens into the blender or food processor. Pulse them until they are coarsely chopped. Do not blend them until they are too finely ground. This is so that the recipe can have a crunchy feel to it. Pour this mixture into a bowl and then add olive oil and lemon juice. It is important that the seasoning has a strong flavor to it considering that you will be using lots of pasta and veggies.

Putting Everything Together

Chop up the carrots to the same length as the pasta. If you are using thin carrots, just cut them in half and if you are using thick carrots, cut them up into quarter pieces lengthwise. Put the pasta in a bowl and then add dressing. You can thin the dressing by adding some bit of water to it if you think that it is too thick. Stir up the dressing into the pasta. Add more salt, pepper flakes, lemon, and pepper if you want. Garnish it with kale or green from the carrots.

You can refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. You can toss it up with lemon, pepper, oil, and salt to give it a bit of a kick.

 

 

 

 

 

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