Cavatappi with Creamy Chevre and Veggies Recipe

Creamy cheese and yogurt combine with healthy olive oil for a lighter yet flavorful pasta salad sauce—plus more sides for barbecue and picnic season
Cavatappi with Creamy Chevre and Veggies

PHOTOGRAPHY TERRY BRENNAN, FOOD STYLING LARA MIKLASEVICS

The time is finally upon us for backyard barbecues and picnics anywhere the mood strikes. Every fall I think, “Why didn’t we go on more picnics this summer?” Let this be the year! More picnics and barbecues for everyone. We need ideas for different side dishes to serve at our own homes alongside sizzling selections off the grill or to share at others’ get-togethers that mix it up beyond the usual potato or pasta salad.

In this recipe by Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, which appeared in Real Food, instead of making a sauce and then adding cheese, this dish has cheese puréed into a light, tangy yogurt sauce. Creamy chevre and yogurt combine with healthy olive oil for a flavorful sauce that isn’t too heavy or rich for summertime, says Asbell, but if you are cooking for people who don’t love goat cheese, you can always substitute cream cheese for a milder taste.

Check out the recipe here and scroll down for a link to more ideas from Asbell and others I have highlighted on this site.

Cavatappi with Creamy Chevre and Veggies

Makes 8 Servings

1 pound cavatappi or spiral pasta
1 large carrot, shredded
6 cups baby spinach, chopped (about 6 ounces)
½ cup frozen peas
2 ounces chevre cheese
½ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
8 ounces roasted chicken breast (optional)

  1. Put a large pot of salted water on the stove over high heat for cooking the pasta. Prep the carrots, keeping them separate, chop spinach and thaw peas and reserve. When the water boils, cook the pasta according to package directions with the carrot, about 10 minutes. While the pasta and carrot cook, place the spinach and peas in a large colander and place it in the sink.
  2. While the pasta cooks, place the chevre or cream cheese in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping and repeating if necessary. Add the yogurt and oil and process until smooth and well mixed. Add the salt and lemon zest and process to mix.
  3. When the pasta is done, pour the boiling water, pasta and carrots over the spinach and peas in the colander, draining the hot pasta and carrots on top of them. Shake the colander to drain as much water as possible. Return pasta and vegetables to the pot.
  4. Scrape the contents of the processor over the pasta and vegetables in the pot, and turn and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Serve at room temperature or chilled. If desired, shred 8 ounces roasted chicken breast and toss with the pasta. It will keep for 4 days, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.

Nutrition info (per serving) Cavatappi with Creamy Chevre & Veggies: Calories 353; Fat 11g (Sat. 3g); Chol 6mg; Sodium 422mg; Carb 52g; Fiber 4g; Added Sugars 0g; Protein 12g

Hungry for More?

A New Side Dish for Summer
Do something wild and unexpected—bring a different side dish to the cookout. Try these recipes.

Ginger-Scallion Salmon Burgers + 13 More Burger Recipes
To go along with your sides, you can easily whip up these moist, flavor-packed salmon burgers—plus check out a “lucky 13” roundup of burgers made with black beans, beef, turkey, and more for delicious ideas all season long.

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.