Bistro Pasta Salad

As you know, for the past month I have been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day 2011 campaign. To help encourage families to take their health into their own hands, I developed the “Home is Where the Heart Is” Recipe Collection, which is filled with delicious, healthy and easy-to-prepare recipes that both kids and parents will enjoy.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S for men and women as well as something that has affected my family directly. Unfortunately, childhood obesity has continued to grow at an alarming rate. The reason this is so disturbing is because research has shown that children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. Obesity is a huge risk factor for CVD but one that is preventable with diet and exercise. That is why teaching my children healthy eating habits is so important to me – and something that can start right here at home.

As a mother of three, I wholly understand the challenges of being a busy, working mom and getting healthy meals on the table – not to mention making something the kids will eat! When developing this recipe collection, I really tried to consider what would be fast, economical, healthy and delicious for the entire family, and I think I accomplished just that.

As a common ingredient in all these recipes, I chose to use canola oil. It has the least amount of saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all cooking oils. Its versatility in cooking and baking simplify my life even more, and it’s inexpensive! This coming Thursday, Sept. 29, is World Heart Day. To celebrate, I will be hosting a Facebook Party on CanolaInfo’s Facebook page from 7-8 PM CST! I will be discussing ways to be heart-smart at home by getting your whole family involved. I hope you will share your own tips and stories as well. Ten of you will be chosen at random to receive a CanolaInfo Heart Health Toolkit. You can RSVP here.

Bistro Pasta Salad

Cook Time:

10 minutes

Prep Times:

20 minutes


6 servings 2/3 cup (150 mL)


1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 75 mL
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 15 mL
2 tsp canola oil 10 mL
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups whole wheat penne pasta, cooked 500 mL
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled or cooked, cut into cubes

1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese 60 mL
12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 small red onion, sliced in rings
1/4 tsp ground oregano 1 mL
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 mL
1/2 cup freshly chopped basil 125 mL


1. In small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, canola oil and garlic. Set aside.

2. In large bowl, combine pasta, chicken, Parmesan, tomatoes, onion, oregano and pepper, tossing gently. Stir in balsamic mixture and basil, tossing gently again. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to two days.

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