Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

This is a yummy pasta salad that I've made two times recently.  It's hearty enough for a main dish, and is a great way to eat lots of vegetables.  The dressing for this pasta salad is made with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and lots of garlic and herbs.  It adds lots of delicious flavor to this simple dish.

I used a zucchini from our garden in this salad! I highly recommend using any produce from your garden for this salad.  And if you have fresh herbs in your garden, you should definitely use those for the dressing.  Last year my mother-in-law had some delicious lemon thyme in her garden that would go great with this (Lanie, if you have that again this year, definitely use it to make this!).

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

This is a great make-ahead salad, as the flavors develop even more over time.  I've found it's good cold, at room temperature, or even slightly warm.  I hope you get a chance to enjoy it before all the summer vegetables are gone!

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

serves: 4-6 as a main dish


For the dressing:
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (I've used parsley, basil, thyme, oregano)

For the salad: *feel free to substitute different vegetables that you have!*
  • 10 ounces whole wheat penne pasta (or pasta of choice-- I threw in some orzo I had as well)
  • 3-4 medium squash (yellow and/or green),  halved and sliced (to yield about 5 cups cut up squash)
  • 1 small bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and sliced into 1 inch segments
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1-2 cups cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
  • optional: goat cheese or Parmesan cheese for topping

1) Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well (or whisk together in a bowl).  Refrigerate until ready to use (the longer it sits, the more the flavors will combine and the better it will be).

2)  Bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.   *Save the cooking water!*

3)  While pasta is cooking, prep all the vegetables.  

4) Drain the pasta into a colander set inside a large pot (to save the cooking water).  Run cold water over the pasta to cool it down.  Bring the pot filled with cooking water to the stove and turn the heat on high.  Add the squash, asparagus, and frozen peas and cook for 2-4 minutes. You want the vegetables cooked, but still a bit crunchy- try not to overcook them!  Drain the vegetables and run cold water over them to stop the cooking and cool them down.

5) Combine pasta, cooked vegetables, tomatoes, and chickpeas in a large bowl.  Pour dressing over top and gently mix to combine.

6)  Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese or Parmesean cheese if desired (it's excellent either way).  Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

(recipe barely adapted from edible perspective)

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