I know that this is A Year of the Skillet, but sometimes I wish I’d declared it A Year of Pasta Salads. Maybe next year – because I really do love pasta salad. Actually, I love pasta however it’s served.
People often ask “What is your favorite food?” or “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” Well, I’m announcing that mine would be pasta, under the condition that I could fix and mix it in whatever way I wanted. Although some folks might not agree, in my opinion, pasta is a blank canvas – the perfect backdrop for the ingredients it’s paired with.
I want to explore and taste all the pastabilities!
Today I’m dreaming of summer picnics with burgers hot off the grill, succulent corn on the cob, and a bowl of colorful pasta salad. This Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad is a delicious twist on the classic recipe. I’m not sure it’s accurate to say this, but this version may be a tiny bit healthier than the traditional variety. This one is loaded with vegetables rather than gratuitous amounts of cheese and pepperoni.
I particularly enjoy this recipe because of the roasted vegetables. Roasting veggies in the oven is one of the easiest and most flavorful ways to cook them. Combine the pasta and roasted vegetables with a splash of pesto sauce, and you have a combination that’s hard to beat.
Also, unlike traditional pasta salad, this salad is served right away, at room temperature. You can chill the salad if you’d like, and to me, it is just as good.
Okay enough talking, let’s get cooking.
Here's what you will need:
1 1/2 cups zucchini (1 medium), chopped
1 1/2 cup yellow squash (1 medium), chopped
1 cup red onion (1 large), chopped
3/4 cup green pepper (1 medium), chopped
3/4 cup red bell pepper (1 medium), chopped
1 small eggplant, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces whole wheat penne
1 cup pesto sauce (homemade or store-bought)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil, julienned for garnish
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. In a roasting or sheet pan combine zucchini, yellow squash, onion, peppers, and eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir a couple times throughout the roasting process.
Transfer the roasted veggies to a very large bowl.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse, and cool slightly. Add the pasta to the roasted vegetables and gently mix together.
Next, add the pesto and stir gently to coat the pasta and veggies. Finally, mix in the cherry tomatoes and season the salad to taste with additional salt at pepper. Garnish with fresh julienned basil.
Now it’s your turn. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?