What goes better with a summer barbecue than pasta salad? Not many things, I hear although I've never been a fan of most mayo-based pasta salads. A few months back our recipe swap theme was Something for Memorial Day so I decided to come up with a pasta salad that did not require the standard dressing. And alas, the summer pasta salad was born. It's not your ordinary pasta salad, with zucchini and a red wine vinegar "dressing", but it is so light and refreshing that it makes a great addition to a heavy barbecue menu. I added chicken to it this time to make it a meal, but without the chicken it is a great side dish! Since zucchini is in season this summer, you should grab some at your local farmer's market or grocery store and showcase this pasta salad at your next barbecue!
Sweet Beginnings’ Summer PastaSalad
2 cups tri-color Rotini or Fusilli Noodles, cooked according to package directions
2 Zucchini, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups Cherry or Plum Tomatoes, halved
½ cup Red Onion, diced
1 Tbsp fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup + 1 tsp Olive Oil, divided
1/4 cup Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
½ Lemon (optional)
Lightly sauté zucchini using 1 tsp of olive oil or cooking spray and season with salt & pepper, then cut each round into halves or quarters.
Mix olive oil & vinegar together in a small bowl.
Toss pasta, zucchini, tomatoes, and onion in a large bowl with the olive oil mixture. Season with salt & pepper, add basil and stir.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes, squeeze lemon over pasta (if desired), toss and serve!
*If you prefer to make as an entree, grill 2 chicken breasts and cut into bite-sized pieces, then toss with the rest of the ingredients.