When we visited my parents in Victoria, B.C. last week, it became abundantly clear why my obsession with food started at a young age. Within 10 minutes of leaving the airport, we pulled up to my parents’ favorite farm stand, loading up on two varieties of corn (perfect for this Grilled Corn Salad), fresh plums, peaches and zucchini. Does it sound as though I’m complaining? I promise you that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We enjoyed plenty of meals in my parents’ newly landscaped, spectacular backyard, each one inspired by some form of fresh produce. (I promise to share some photos of my parents’ backyard in a later post. For those of you who enjoy gardening, you’ll want to see this.)
Meals of light summer pasta salads, grilled ribs and seared shrimp were interrupted only by expeditions to the beach to search for crabs and shells, and carriage rides around Victoria.
By the way, if you’re ever traveling through Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, by carriage or any other means, don’t miss the Beacon Drive-In for the best soft-serve ice cream you’ll ever taste.
After returning home from Victoria, I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the fresh fruits and vegetables we ate while on holiday. When I spotted some ruby red plums at the market, the wheels started turning. Should I make a crisp? How about an ice cream? Ultimately, I decided to opt for something a little healthier. Plus, I didn’t have any ideas for dinner that night, so I knew I had to put on my culinary thinking cap.
And so was born this whole wheat pasta salad, brought to life with the ripe, sweet plums, a light orange and cumin dressing and salty feta cheese. Some shredded chicken adds an extra hit of protein and sliced green onions and cilantro pump up the “freshness” factor.
Are you thinking that plums, cumin and pasta sound like an odd combination? Well, I’ll just have to ask you to trust me on this one. The flavors will have you smitten.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, cumin, agave or honey, salt and pepper. Set aside.
The pasta salad:
Cook the whole wheat penne according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
In a large bowl, combine the penne, shredded chicken, plums and feta cheese.
Pour in the dressing and stir to coat the pasta.
Add the green onions and cilantro and stir gently to combine.
Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Other savory dishes with plums:
Creative Culinary’s Grilled Plum Salad with Goat Cheese & Olive Oil/Balsamic Dressing
Eats Well with Others’ Moroccan Nectarine & Plum Chicken Tagine
The Bitten Words’ Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta & Plums
Kitchen Konfidence’s Ripe Plum Tabbouleh
Running to the Kitchen’s Goat Cheese & Honey Stuffed Plums
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp agave nectar or honey
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (13 oz.) box whole wheat penne pasta
- 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded
- 4 large plums (about 1 1/4 pounds), pitted and cubed
- 3 1/2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, cumin, agave or honey, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Cook the whole wheat penne according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a large bowl, combine the penne, shredded chicken, plums and feta cheese.
- Pour in the dressing and stir to coat the pasta.
- Add the green onions and cilantro and stir gently to combine.
- Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.
The dressing is adapted from a Cooking Light Magazine recipe.