Pasta Salad with Red Peppers, Chives, & Goat Cheese

Pasta Salad with with Red Peppers, Chives, & Goat CheeseThis is a nice light pasta salad that would go well with some crusty bread, or a light fish dish for a complete meal. I personally LOVE goat cheese, but you can add as little, or as much, as you like to this dish. If you wanted to make it more of a Greek style, change the goat cheese to feta, and the green olives to kalamata. This salad will serve 6-8 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ red onion, finely chopped
sea salt, to taste
coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
1 (12-ounce) jar fire-roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, patted dry with paper towels, and chopped*
2 cups cooked shell pasta (about 1 ½ cups uncooked)
¼ cup chopped chives**
¾ cup chopped marinated pitted green olives (if possible, look for olives marinated in garlic and extra virgin olive oil from your deli olive bar)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ – ½ cup crumbled goat cheese (to taste)

* You can also make your own roasted red peppers, using the recipe found here.
** Click here to learn how to clean chives properly.

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion, and sauté for 3–4 minutes, or until onion is softened. Season onion with salt and pepper to taste. Add frozen corn to the skillet and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Mix in the red peppers and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Transfer the onion, corn, and red pepper mixture to a large serving bowl. Toss in the cooked pasta shells, chives, olives, and cherry tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining oil, vinegar, mustard, oregano and thyme. Pour the vinaigrette over the pasta salad and gently toss to mix. Stir in the crumbled goat cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

Note: Pasta salad can be made up to one day in advance.