Light & Fresh Summer Pasta Salad
Light & Fresh Summer Pasta Salad
Summer may not officially be here, but warm weather sure has arrived! With it, it brought in cravings for light, flavorful, and fresh meals. This summer pasta filled with vegetables makes it easy to swap ingredients for a whole new take on the dish. Beyond the delicious taste of the dish, making it fills the home with sweet and savory smells. The best part? Very few dishes are needed!
To ensure that your pasta salad is the best it can be, roast the heartier vegetables longer than the tender veggies. Add in the dressing while the vegetables are still warm since it will help them to absorb the dressing easier.
- 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Vidalia onions, or 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 small pattypan squash, sliced in half
- 2 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½teaspoon herbes de Provence (rosemary, marjoram, parsley, oregano, lavender, savory, and thyme)
- Leaves from 8 sprigs fresh thyme, more for garnish
- 116-ounce package penne pasta
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup fresh basil, more for garnish
- Juice of ½ small lemon, more if desired
- Pinches of red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the carrots and onions on the first sheet and the pattypan squash, zucchini, and tomatoes on the other. Drizzle both sheets of vegetables with olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Place the sheet with the carrots and onions in the oven first and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the onions are tender and lightly charred, and the carrots are tender and browned. Place the second sheet in and roast for 20 minutes, or until the squash and zucchini are golden brown around the edges, and the tomatoes are lightly bursting. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the sherry vinegar, garlic, herbes de Provence, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir in the roasted vegetables.
- Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain and transfer the cooked pasta to the large bowl with the roasted vegetables and toss to coat.
- Add the feta, basil, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes and gently toss. Season (generously!) to taste with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice, as desired. Be sure to taste as you add in herbs and seasonings so the pasta is just how you like it!
- Garnish with more fresh herbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!
Want to change it up a little? Try these recipe variations!
- Switch the veggies. Nearly any late summer veggie works well in this roasted vegetable pasta. Replace some of the summer squash with eggplant or bell peppers, swap the carrots for green beans, or add broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, or corn.
- Grill the veggies. Too hot to turn the oven on? This vegetable pasta is just as good when you cook the veggies on the grill.
- Swap the cheese, or skip it. If you don’t have feta on hand, use shaved Parmesan cheese or crumbled goat cheese in its place. To make this recipe vegan, skip the cheese, or add a spoonful of capers instead.
- Add some crunch. Toss in a handful of toasted pine nuts or roasted chickpeas
- Up the herbs. In addition to fresh basil, top the pasta with dollops of pesto.