There are many health benefits to the Mediterranean diet which includes eating more vegetables, fish, olive oil, and nuts. You can eat the Mediterranean way with this healthful salad with lots of color and flavor. I prepared it for a Mediterranean cooking class and it received rave reviews.

1/2 pound penne paste (small tube shape)

1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and cut into quarters 1 cup roasted red peppers*, chopped 1 cup black or Kalamata olives, cut in half 1 pound cooked salmon, shrimp or ham, cut in bite-size pieces 4 ounces(1/2 cup crumbled) reduced fat feta cheese 6 ounces (about 8 cups) fresh small spinach leaves, washed and drained 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts** or other nuts of your choice

Dressing 1/4 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions until al dente. Chill under cold running water. Drain and set aside. In a large bowl, combine pasta, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, olives, ham, and cheese and spinach leaves. Set pine nuts aside. In a small jar, combine olive oil, garlic, basil, and vinegar. Pour into salad bowl and toss gently. Top individual servings with pine nuts if desired.

*Sun dried tomatoes can be substituted for roasted red peppers. **To toast pine nuts, cook in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 1 -2 minutes or until lightly golden. Watch carefully to prevent burning.

Serves 8

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 330 Fat, gm.: 15 Protein, gm.: 21 Carb, gm.: 30 Cholesterol: 30 Fiber, gm.: 4.0

Reprinted from: Mom's Quick Meals Cookbook