This pasta salad really happened by accident.  I was up at the cabin over the 4th with the rest of the family and both Nicole and Kelly were helping out with the meals.  One night we were grilling burgers and Nicole was in charge of making the salad.  She had planned on making a lettuce salad, but then she discovered there were all kinds of veggies in the fridge that we needed to use up.  So instead of a lettuce salad, she chopped up the veggies we had on hand and tossed them with a homemade vinaigrette to make a fresh veggie salad.

The salad was really delicious, it was crunchy and the vinaigrette tasted great.  We ended up having quite a bit leftovers, so I brought them back home with me, figuring we’d eat it as is.  Weeellll….. then I started thinking that I could turn those veggies into a main dish if I cooked up some pasta.

That’s what I did and it turned out delicious.  I cooked up some brown rice pasta (I’ve discovered that is quite delicious and we’ve been trying to avoid gluten), tossed it with the leftover veggies and added a handful of parmesan.  I have to tell you, it was so easy and it tasted amazing!

The really great thing about this salad is its versatility.  You can use whatever veggies you like, you can use any pasta you like.  If you’re gluten free, use brown rice pasta, if you’re not, a multi-grain pasta would be delish, as well.  If you’d like some more protein, you could add some cooked chicken or if you want to keep it vegetarian, add some cannellini beans.  Any way you do it, you’ll have an easy and tasty meal!

Summer Pasta Salad

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried Herbes d’ Provence (you could also use dried Italian seasoning)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups of your favorite chopped fresh vegetables (I used cucumbers, carrots, grape tomatoes and red bell pepper)
  • 8 oz short cut pasta (I used brown rice penne)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Whisk together vinegar, Dijon, herbs and salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Slowly drizzle olive oil into the vinegar mixture, whisking constantly, until incorporated.

In a large bowl, toss chopped veggies with the dressing.  Let them marinade while the pasta cooks.

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

Drain cooked pasta and rinse briefly with cold water.  Toss with a little olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking.

Toss pasta with veggies and parmesan.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

ENJOY!

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