VEGGIE PASTA SALAD
1 12 ounce packages whole wheat spaghetti noodles
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used red & yellow)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped nuts, lightly toasted
1 cup pitted olives, sliced in 1/2 ( I used black and green olives)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Optional: add 1 tsp of red chili flakes, 1/2 cup chopped green onions for topping
Cook the noodles according to the packages directions, though cook them al dente. Rinse with cold water in a colander to stop cooking. Set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and chopped onions. Saute for about 5 minutes being careful not to brown too much. Keep the heat low enough to cook the onions until completely soft and flavorful (I add a few pinches of sea salt to the cooking onions to help with this). Then add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Watch the temp so the garlic doesn't burn. Remove from heat.
Add the cooled noodles to a large bowl. Then add in the cooked onions and garlic, and all of the remaining ingredients. Toss well. I use quite a bit of black pepper to season this. Add salt to taste.
To toast the nuts use a dry skillet and place over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and keep them moving in the pan for a few minutes until lightly browned. Watch them closely as they can burn easily!