Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Pasta Salad with Carrot Tops and Fakin' Bacon

I know that the question you have been wondering all of your life (or, at least since your last trip to the farmer's market) is "are these carrot tops good for anything other than compost?" Well, I did a little research, seeing as the things were annexing my refrigerator's vegetable drawer. It turns out that they are edible. 

Carrots are in the same family as celery, dill, parsley, and coriander. Although many other members of the Apiaceae family are poisonous, carrots are entirely edible, and in fact, the tops taste much like a combination of parsley and carrot. I find this exciting because it means I no longer have to buy parsley. I will just save my money by buying carrots with the tops on. If you try them, tell me what you think of them! 

5 scallions, sliced, including white parts
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 cup radishes, quartered and sliced
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cup carrot tops, finely chopped
1 package smoked tempeh "Fakin' Bacon"
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (obviously shelled)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups dried elbow macaroni
1 cup Vegannaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions and rinse with cold water until completely cooled. 

In the meantime, prepare the tempeh. If you have a toaster oven, the easiest way to do this is to lay the strips out across the rack so that you can toast both sides at one time. Toast until very crispy, let cool and then chop. If you don't have a toaster oven, you can saute them in a pan with a little oil, just be sure to dry the oil off with a paper towel since you don't want excess liquid in your pasta salad!

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Like most pasta salads, letting the flavors mix for a few hours should make it even better. If you want to have it for dinner rather than a side, serve on a bed of spinach (as pictured).


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