There is only one thing that is better than creamy pasta salad with ham and peas, and that one thing is a healthier version made with Greek yogurt and whole-wheat pasta!
DISCLOSURE: I created this post and participated in the farm tour event on behalf of the dairy farm families of New England as part of an ongoing partnership. I was compensated for my time to do so and all opinions are my own.
Actually, I take that back. There is one thing better than Healthy Greek Yogurt Pasta Salad with Ham and Peas, and that is BABY COWS!!!
Baby cows pretty much can’t be topped.Then comes creamy pasta salad. And then third would have to be playing hooky from work and traveling to the most beautiful lush green rolling bucolic valley in Northern Connecticut to spend an entire day walking around in the breezy sun with the Team Dairy NE on World Milk Day!
This trip, sponsored by New England Dairy Promotion Board, was put together as a way to bring the entire Team Dairy New England to a real live operational Dairy Farm, to learn more about the practices of dairy farming and to kick off the month of June, which is National Dairy Month.
We met at Freund’s Farm in East Canaan, CT. If you’ve been reading here for a while, then you know that I’ve been on a few dairy farms over the years, including the Webster Family Farm, and every single time I go on one I learn something new. And that proved to be the case this time as well.
We were lead on our tour by Rachel Fruend, who is a force! She was amazing! Just to give you an idea of how totally bad4$$ she is, she told us that the night before she had been out in the barn at 9:30 pm delivering a calf. She also decided that she wanted to take over doing all of the artificial insemination of the cows herself, and learned how to do it. Doing so increased the heard’s conception rate from 30% to 50%! (More on that in a minute.)
I have way more than I can possibly get into here without this post being an eleventy billion words long, so I wanted to tell you about two really amazing things that this farm is doing that is kind-of mind blowing! First, they have their own manure digester on the farm. I wrote about how cool these are in this post from last year. Basically these digesters are a way to capture methane from manure for us to use for power. Very green! This farm has their very own, and they have for a long time. They were one of the very first farms to use one.
That’s not all. One of the things about manure digesters, is that they create a loamy bi-product, it’s odorless and clean after the digestion process, but there isn’t a ton of use for it. So many farmers use it for bedding for the cows. The Freunds came up with an ingenious solution for it. They invented the Cow Pot! The Cow Pot is like those peat pots you can buy seedlings in, except they’re made from manure. The seedlings and the pot can be planted directly into the soil, and the pot decomposes into the soil in the span of a couple weeks. They actually decompose much better than the peat pots. And the pot also acts to feed the little seedling too!
The other really amazing thing about the Freund Family Farm was the robots!
I am not joking there were robots on this farm! See this one below. He has a name. Juno. His job is to do loops up and down the barn all day long keeping it ultra clean and making sure the cows have plenty of food within reach.
The farm also has a robotic milking machine that was really cool to watch. Every cow wears a fit bit (again I am not making this up!) and the robot can tell which cow is there at the milking station. These fitbits also help because the farmers can also monitor the cows activity very closely to make sure they are healthy, eating, sleeping and milking okay. And it helps with monitoring their cycles too. That’s another part of the 50% conception rate!
Rachel’s mom, Theresa, greeted us after our tour. She runs the Farm Stand and has a catering business that she runs there as well. She also grows an enormous amount of tomatoes! Look at them all!!
She made us a farm fresh lunch that was a sight to behold featuring many varieties of her cherry tomatoes, plus asparagus that had been picked that morning. And rhubarb crisp that made me weak in the knees. We even churned our own butter and had it on freshly baked bread. It was kinda outrageous how good it was. We sat under a hickory tree the size of an aircraft carrier, and sipped iced tea. Then we toasted World Milk Day!
I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity. Thank you New England Dairy Farm Families for sponsoring the trip!
It all went too quickly! Before I knew it I was on the road heading back up to Vermont.
To commemorate the farm trip and National Dairy Month, I made this creamy Greek Yogurt Pasta Salad with Ham and Peas. And instead of masses of mayo, I used Greek yogurt to make it creamy! Yay!
The dressing has 1 cup of Greek yogurt, and only 3 tablespoons of mayo. That saves a ton of calories, but there is lots of creamy dressing to make the pasta salad seem indulgent and classic.
I used ham and peas in this, because it is a classic combination and a real crowd pleaser. I also added in scallion, dill, tarragon, vinegar and mustard for added flavor. Adding flavor from these ingredients helps keep it super yummy tasting when you cut back on the mayo. I also made it with whole wheat farfalle, or bow tie pasta, because it is higher in fiber than white pasta. If you are gluten free, by all means use a gluten-free pasta, and it will come out great! (Use 10 1/2 ounces)
Have you ever been on a dairy farm?
Have you heard of robotic milkers?
Have you seen cow pots?
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back on Monday next week with another summer classic you won’t want to miss!
There is only one thing better than creamy pasta salad with ham and peas, and that one thing is a healthier version made with Greek yogurt and whole-wheat pasta. So meet my Healthy Greek Yogurt Pasta Salad with Ham and Peas. It' ready in just 30 minutes, so it's perfect for all your summer cook-outs!
- 4 cups farfalle pasta, whole-grain or gluten-free if desired (10.5 ounces)
- 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 cup finely diced ham
- 1 cup finely diced celery hearts
- ½ cup finely chopped scallions
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain thoroughly. Run cold water over the pasta to cool.
- Meanwhile whisk Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon, salt, dill, tarragon, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Add the cooked pasta to the Greek yogurt mixture and toss to coat. Add peas, ham, celery and scallions. Toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance. Stir again before serving.