18 June 2008


One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is my scale. I waited far too long to purchase one. A basic non-electric model, it weighs up to 6.5 pounds and is more than adequate for my purposes. I use it regularly for weighing smaller quantities of produce bought in bulk for use in recipes, and it’s great for dividing a batch of bread dough into equal proportions to make even loaves.

The scale also works well for weighing the 8 ounces of tri-color rotini—which generally is sold in a 12-ounce box—needed for the following recipe. This is my husband’s favorite pasta salad, and it’s easy, healthful, and filling—thanks to the combination of pasta and beans. It’s perfect for summer meals, especially picnics.


8 ounces tri-color rotini
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8¾-ounce can corn, drained
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ pint grape tomatoes, halved

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, or 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook rotini according to package directions until al dente. While rotini cooks, combine all dressing ingredients and mix well. Set aside. Drain rotini and rinse briefly under cold water. Drain completely.
2. Place rotini in a large bowl. Add beans, corn, and green onions. Toss gently. Pour dressing over rotini mixture and toss again, gently but thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
3. Just before serving, peel and chop avocado and toss with lemon juice. Add avocado and grape tomatoes to salad. Toss and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 505 calories, 15 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 50 g total carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 11 g protein.

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