When I was a writing instructor, I used to caution my students against using sweeping or obvious generalizations to start their papers (“Since the beginning of time…” “Mankind has always…”), but that is exactly what I’m about to do:
Sometimes, life gets unexpectedly hectic.
This past week was one of those times for us and we were completely caught off guard. One doctor’s appointment led to three more and I wound up with a catheter shoved up my nose and down into my stomach for 24 hours, the boyfriend met with some nasty food poisoning from one of our now ex-favorite restaurants, and Phoebe…well, let’s just say that Phoebe had her own issues, too. Thankfully, we’re all fine now! But when life gets this ridiculous, it’s nice to have some quick, easy, one-pot recipes up your sleeve, like this creamy white bean pasta salad with champagne vinaigrette.
This pasta salad comes together in about as much time as it takes to boil the pasta. The goat cheese melts when you stir it in with the just-cooked pasta, coating the noodles with its velvety smoothness, and the mustard and champagne vinegar in the vinaigrette enhance the cheese’s savory tanginess. Cannellini beans, with their naturally silky texture, contrast wonderfully with the leafy greens and crunchy walnuts, and together, they make for a pasta dish that feels far more nuanced and luxurious than you might expect a 20-minute, one-pot meal to be. It’s also a great dish for picnics and potlucks (Memorial day barbecue, anyone?), since it’s simple yet sophisticated and fantastic served at any temperature.
What are some of your go-to meals when things get super busy and chaotic?
- 3/4 pound pasta (rotini, cavatappi, or similar)
- 1 can (5-7 ounces) albacore tuna, drained
- 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese, divided
- 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 5 ounces baby lettuce
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of salted water (I use about 1 teaspoon salt) to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette: place the olive oil, champagne vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl and whisk together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour 2 tablespoons vinaigrette over the drained tuna. Set aside.
- After draining the pasta, rinse quickly with cold water and return the pasta to the pot. Stir in the vinaigrette, reserving 2-3 tablespoons (as the pasta salad sits, it will absorb much of the dressing, so I like to have a little left over to add to individual servings). Add 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese and stir until it has melted and coated the pasta. Stir in the tuna, cannellini beans, and baby lettuce. Top individual servings with chopped walnuts and the remaining 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese.
- I use champagne vinegar to make a homemade version of my favorite champagne dressing. Substituting red or white wine vinegar should be fine as well, if you prefer to use what you have on hand.
- Pasta salad adapted from Everyday Food (June 2009)
- Champagne vinaigrette adapted from Martha Stewart
This looks just heavenly, especially love the goat’s cheese!
Thanks! I hope you get a chance to try it sometime!
Evan is making this for dinner RIGHT NOW.
Wow, that was super fast! I hope you liked it 🙂
Lovely! This looks so easy, and definitely perfect for those days when it’s too hot to cook. Going to keep this on my short list for summer dinners!
Yes, exactly! When it was going to be super hot later in the day, my mom would boil pasta for pasta salad early in the morning so that she could make dinner without heating up the house. Smart lady 🙂
Cassie Cottura says
Looks delicious! I love goat cheese and this looks like a yummy but light meal. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks! You hit the nail on the head – tasty but won’t weigh you down!
Whisked Away says
It seems like there are so many pasta salads that all just taste the same so I love finding ones like these that step outside the box. The different flavor combinations sound delicious and fresh!
Very true! I love making homemade vinaigrettes for dishes like these – it makes them easily customizable (not to mention fresh!).
Cristina @ I Say Nomato says
YUM! This looks so delicious, and really unique! Love it.
Thanks! I have to credit Martha Stewart for the basic recipe, but I think I put my own spin on it as well!
Lu | Super Nummy Yo! says
Oh no! Glad you’re okay but that’s scary! Loving this goat cheese and champagne vinaigrette though 😛
Thanks – it was a doozy of a week, but we emerged no worse for the wear 🙂
Lovely, lovely salad! I make a pasta salad with a champagne vinaigrette, but this is far more upscale and it does look incredible!
Thank you! Champagne vinaigrette is one of my favorite salad dressings.
You know, I never thought to add beans to a pasta salad….AND I have a bottle of champagne vinegar so it’s like it’s MEANT TO BE!!! 😉
I’ve come to realize that I add beans to pretty much everything…soups, salads, you name it. Indeed, how serendipitous that you’ve already got some champagne vinegar!!
Catheters up your nose do NOT sound fun…but I’m glad to hear you’re okay after all that! You deserve about gazillion pounds of pasta salad after that ordeal. Pretty sure.
Nooo…no fun at all. Eating was particularly difficult and uncomfortable, so I completely agree – I earned that pasta salad! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Christine @ Cooking with Cakes says
oh my goodness this could NOT look more delicious if you tried, and champagne vinaigrette?! I think my heart just stopped – PINNED!
Thanks so much! It’s crazy how delicious simple recipes can turn out, isn’t it? I hope you get a chance to make this!
J @ A Hot Southern Mess says
This is such a pretty pasta for spring! The champagne vinaigrette sounds amazing! I will definitely have to save this recipe and try it out soon!
Thank you! I thought it was quite spring-y as well. Let me know what you think if you get a chance to try it!
Looks and sounds so delicious. Champagne Vinaigrette so interesting. Lovely recipe
Thank you! I really love making champagne vinaigrette. Enjoy 🙂
Cali @ Cali's Cuisine says
Always looking for a meatless option – this looks amazing!
Thanks! I don’t know whether you consider tuna meat, but if you do, I’m sure it’d be just as tasty without. Thanks for stopping by!
You had me at champagne vinaigrette, but then I saw all the ingredients in the pasta salad and now I am for sure going to have to make this! I never would have thought of walnuts or beans in a pasta salad. I think I need to start coloring outside the lines a little bit more. It really looks delicious. Glad you are feeling better. I admire you for not just going through the drive-through for fast food when you went through an experience like that!
Thank you! Walnuts and cannellini beans are two of my favorite ingredients for salads, both of the lettuce and non-lettuce variety. To be honest, it didn’t even cross my mind to get fast food (I just wanted to be at home and in my sweatpants ASAP!)…but we did go out for burgers and fries a few days later!
Stephanie Benton says
Holy moly! This looks fantastic! I think I will have to make this this weekend! Wow.
I am working on a memorial day recipe round up, do you mind if I include this with a link back to your blog? 🙂
Adding your blog to my feedly too so I can keep up to date with more recipes! Fantastic!
Thank you so much! And go right ahead – I’ll be sure to check out your recipe round up!
Sweet Tea Sweetie says
This looks so delicious! I can’t wait to try it!
Thanks! Let me know what you think if you make it 🙂
plasterers bristol says
Yum this sounds really delicious. I love trying new recipes from blogs. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks! I hope you get a chance to try this – it’s so easy to make!