Our Summer Pasta Salad, packed with farmer’s market vegetables, is the perfect side dish for any potluck or summer BBQ. It’s like a burst of summer in every bite! Everyone will be asking you for the recipe!
SUMMER PASTA SALAD
During BBQ season, pasta salad is staple. It’s easy to make, you can make it ahead of time, and it’s always a popular side dish, especially this Summer Pasta Salad! Just ask me. 🙂
HEAD OVER TO THE FARMER’S MARKET
We belong to a CSA, and we also have a farmer’s market walking distance from our house. We try to stick to eating what is local at the farms this time of year. You could use cherry tomatoes in this pasta salad. When I can find them though, I use Sun Golds. They are my absolute favorite. They’re like a burst of sunshine in every bite.
I usually grow my own Sun Golds because they tend to go fast at the farmer’s market. But somehow this year the plants we purchased that were marked Sun Gold were actually cherry tomatoes. So we have a ton of cherry tomatoes this year and no Sun Golds. Talk about a major disappointment!
Farm fresh cucumbers are another one of my favorites. They have a crunch that you just don’t get from the ones at the grocery store. Their flavor is better too, probably due to the fact that they aren’t spending all that transit time on a truck en route to the grocery store.
Can you tell how much I love my veggies this time of year?!
MAKE YOUR OWN SALAD DRESSING
During the heat of season, I try to stay away from pasta salads with a mayonnaise base. Besides that, I am somewhat addicted to vinegar. I have an entire cabinet in my kitchen devoted to vinegars. I have just about every kind of vinegar you could possibly imagine. But my Summer Pasta Salad uses a basic red wine vinegar.
I usually make my own salad dressing. I started back when my husband and I first got married 24 years ago. My husband’s parents always made their own salad dressing, and it was from them that I realized how simple it was.
When you make your own dressing, you know exactly what you’re eating. Most of my dressings are simply slight variations of each other. I tend to be heavy on the vinegar, but you can dial it back based on your taste buds. I generally use honey as the “sweet” in my dressings. This particular dressing has a bit of sugar in it.
To make the dressing for this pasta salad, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped parsley and basil, Dijon mustard, crushed garlic, and salt and pepper in a jar and shake vigorously. You can adjust your salt and pepper if you need to.
SUMMER PASTA SALAD WITH FARMER’S MARKET VEGETABLES
Simplicity is key. With freshly picked veggies and homemade salad dressing, this salad packs a big punch in terms of flavor.
Start by cooking your Mini Farfalle pasta (or pasta of your choice) al dente, according to package directions. While your pasta is cooking, chop your peppers, cucumbers, red onion and tomatoes.
I like to mix my chopped onions with a couple tablespoons of the salad dressing and let them sit for a bit, because it takes a bit of the “bite” out of the taste of the onion.
Don’t forget to cut the basil chiffonade.
When your pasta is done cooking, rinse it with cold water to cool it faster.
Then go ahead and combine the pasta, vegetables, and feta.
Pour dressing over the top and mix well. Don’t add all of the dressing at once. Add it slowly and dress the salad to your taste. I always have a little dressing left over…perfect for salad greens another day!
GUARANTEED TO BE A HIT AT POTLUCKS AND SUMMER BBQS
I’ve made my Summer Pasta Salad several times over the last few weeks, and it’s been a big hit every time. Everyone went back for seconds and thirds!
If you are hosting a BBQ, you can make this ahead of time. It will keep nicely. If you are going to do that, I’d recommend waiting and adding the tomatoes right before serving. I always try to avoid having cut tomatoes sit. They can get kind of slimy, and they just don’t taste as good.
LOOKING FOR MORE SUMMER BBQ SIDE DISH RECIPES?
This Fiesta Guacamole has party written all over it! Packed with bright and colorful summer veggies, it takes your favorite avocado dip to a whole new level!
With sweet corn, makes roasted peppers and salty feta, this versatile Corn and Feta Salad is perfect as an appetizer, or even a salsa with grilled chicken or fish.
Now for the recipe you’ve all been waiting for!
- 1/2 lb of mini farfalle (or your choice of pasta), cooked al dente
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 2 medium cucumbers, cut into rounds, then sliced in half
- 1/2 of a medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cups Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3.5 oz feta, crumbled
- handful of basil chiffonade
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 medium garlic clove, crushed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all dressing ingredients in jar and shake vigorously. Adjust salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
- Cook your Mini Farfalle according to package directions to al dente
- While your pasta is cooking, chop peppers, cucumbers, red onion, and tomatoes.*
- Combine chopped onions with a couple tablespoons of the dressing. The vinegar in the dressing takes a bit of the "bite" out of the onions.
- Cut your basil chiffonade.
- Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to cool.
- Mix pasta with chopped vegetables, basil chiffonade, and crumbled feta.
- Pour dressing over the top and mix. Don't add all of the dressing at once...dress the salad to your taste.**
If making salad a day ahead of time, I'd recommend chopping your tomatoes on the day you plan to serve it and adding them to the salad then.
*I usually have a bit of salad dressing left over that I can then use for salad greens another day.
This Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad recipe appeared first on Amanda’s Cookin’.