Vegetable Pasta Salad Recipe with Walnut Oil

What could I quickly pull together in 10 minutes to quickly feed a boy that needs to eat before (and after) baseball practice? Last night while Nathan was grilling pork chops, I stirred together this Vegetable Pasta Salad. The real treat in it and twist in flavor was adding Walnut Oil to it. 
Plus we added chick peas, artichoke quarters, dried cranberries, green pepper and sunflower seeds to the pasta. It was delicious. 
With about 30 minutes to prep and get supper done at our house, the girls have to be kept busy. It is chaos and we make messes but we have fun in the kitchen together. Last night, Miss E helped chopped green pepper.
The different sizes of green pepper added character. It’s all a part of cooking with kids. Martha Stewart probably wouldn’t understand. We chopped up two green peppers and added that to 4 cups of cooked garden rotini pasta.

 While Miss E chopped I whipped up a quick dressing for the pasta salad, starting with 1/2 cup of light mayo.
Dinner in Modesto, CA last week
Then the special and “secret” ingredient was a gift from my above friend, Olivia, on the right.

Limerock Orchards is Olivia’s family’s farm where they dry land (no irrigation) farm walnuts in the Paso Rablos area of California, right alongside wine grapes. You can visit Limerock Orchards Facebook page to learn more about their operation.

I mixed 2 TBSPS of walnut oil in with the light mayo. I absolutely love walnut oil and it’s rich nutty flavor. It gives anything and everything a new dimension of taste from salad dressings to sauteed spinach to popcorn.
 To finish off the dressing I added 1 tsp of Lawry’s season salt and 1 tsp of fresh minced garlic.
 Miss E helped me add one can of drained artichoke quarters and one can of drained and rinsed chick peas (also known as garbanzo beans).

 Any type of crunchy nut would be great in this salad. We added 1/4 cup of salt-free sunflower seeds.
  Then we added 1/3 cup of dried cranberries for some color and sweetness.
 Stirred it up and added our walnut oil and mayo based dressing.
 I have a few herbs growing in my kitchen window in the container that once belonged to my Great-Grandma Signa (my Grandpa Sonny’s “mum” as he says). Grandma Signa passed away over 30 years ago but I hope she is smiling down seeing that I am still growing herbs on the prairie like she did. Thanks to my mom for sharing this special container with me.
To finish off the salad I sprinkled some fresh cilantro on top of the vegetable pasta salad.
Nathan came inside with the grilled pork chops. With our meat thermometer, we tried to the new temperature guidelines released by the USDA to cook pork to 145F and then rest for 3 minutes before serving. The pork chops were much juicier than having to cook them to 160F and so yummy.
The Vegetable Pasta Salad with Walnut Oil was a hit even on little kid’s plates.
The baseball playing boy at our house chowed down on pasta salad, potatoes, watermelon, a couple pork chops and a few glasses of milk. His appetite is tremendous. 
What’s a summer salad recipe you enjoy making? I love getting new ideas. 

Did you notice my new blog header? Thanks to my Oklahoma friend Brooke of Rural Gone Urban for designing it for me. It simply states the prairie and family we love. 
Also every year on June 9th, our family celebrates my brother Robbie. It was 11 years ago today Robbie was severely injured in a farm accident as a 15 year old boy. Miracles saved him and we are thankful every day for him. Hug your loved ones today. Another blog post I wrote last year about surviving to grow in your faith is a reminder that not all survive farm accidents. Cherish each day. 


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  2. Aww, thank you for thinking of us over here in Paso Robles (a bunch of nuts in wine country, as I like to say). What a creative way to use the oil! I’m always so impressed with how well you are able to make a meal come together.

    I also love your banner, by the way. I haven’t been to the prairie, but it looks like a beautiful place full of good food and fun people 🙂

  3. yup, love the new banner. and God bless your brother! 🙂

  4. A beautiful post. I will have to try this salad and I’ll click on your friend’s link. Thank you too for sharing about your brother; may God bless.

  5. Interesting about the walnut oil. I have not cooked with it, but am intrigued by this post. Thanks for sharing about your brother. We have lost two close friends to farming accidents.

  6. That’s quite a pasta salad! It looks delicious!

  7. Yummy!! Love the new header!! Yes, we all need to be reminded about farm safety!!

  8. yummy

  9. I use walnut oil all of the time! Makes the best walnut pesto – basil, parm chees, walnuts and walnut oil. YUM! Its also great for roasting vegetables in the oven or on the grill. I am going to try the salad dressing above for sure.

  10. GREAT Ideas! I am so glad I found you (blog hopping with this morning’s coffee…not sure where I got you from though).

    This recipe is going to debut at my table this weekend!

    You have a beautiful family and great tips…look forward to more visits 🙂

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