A Cool And Light Pasta Salad

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - October 20, 2010
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Dr. Ned Benton, a frequent visitor to the Islands, is the past president of the American Correctional Association and former corrections commissioner for the state of Oklahoma. He has traveled to Hawaii from New York numerous times to make important contributions to research conferences held here.

Most recently, he agreed to assist UH-West Oahu in its re-accreditation review by evaluating the quality of several of its programs in areas such as public administration, disaster preparedness and criminal justice.

Presently, Benton is chairman of the Department of Public Administration and Economics at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Public Affairs in New York City, which has an international reputation as one of the best criminal justice colleges in the world.

One of Benton’s many other accomplishments was taking on a consulting project to reform the French prison system.

Benton loves to visit Hawaii, and especially enjoys horseback riding on Oahu and Maui. He feels that Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places he has ever seen, and is completely enamored of our aloha spirit and Hawaiian culture.

Who knows? He may one day leave New York and retire to the Islands.

This column is dedicated to Benton, a very special person who has given of his skill and knowledge to improve the public sector and higher education in Hawaii.

The ingredients for this dish can be prepared the night before: Just toss and add dressing, and serve with crusty French bread for a quick dinner.

It also is good for a take-along lunch as a sandwich alternative. The crunchiness of the peanuts adds mouth appeal and some extra fiber.

There are a variety of salad dressings on the market that have low sodium, virtually no fat to speak of and taste great. Avoid dressings that have monosodium glutamate, or have a high fat content, as you are defeating the whole purpose of eating a light salad when it is doused with fatty dressing.

Remember to read the ingredients and check the expiration date on the bottle.


* 1 12-ounce package farfalle (bow tie) pasta, cooked al dente, and cooled
* 4 cups diced cooked chicken breast
* 1 cup dried cranberries
* 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
* 3/4 cup finely chopped sweet Maui onion
* 3 tablespoons lightly salted, dry-roasted peanuts (or substitute any nuts you prefer)
* salt and pepper, to taste
* 6 large lettuce leaves

Toss chicken breast with salt and pepper until well blended. Mix chicken with farfalle until combined.

Fold in cranberries, celery and onion until combined. Toss with salad dressing.

Line six plates with lettuce and spoon salad on top. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Makes six servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 380
Total Fat: 7.9 grams
Cholesterol: 31 milligrams
Sodium: 65 milligrams, plus dressing

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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