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In the summertime, we love fresh and crispy chilled salads to go along with our warm grilled chicken, steak and fish. It just so happens that my organic garden is blossoming with all of the fresh produce we need to make all of the delicious vegetable dishes that we love to eat, and nothing beats fresh. It makes such a difference in both taste and texture – not to mention also being better for you.
We’ve been grilling so much that we ran out of propane. While doing a tank exchange at Walmart I picked up a few ingredients I needed for a delicious summer meal: Barilla pasta and Gold Peak Tea. Everything else was waiting for me at home in my garden bed.
The only cooking required for this recipe is to boil pasta. Because summer cookin’ should be as easy like a Sunday morning. Anyone that knows anything about pasta salad knows the cardinal rule – don’t overcook the pasta. You don’t want a big pile of mushy pasta but you do want to keep the pasta as al dente as the veggies are crisp. Do this by draining the pot as soon as it’s done and immediately chillin the pasta by continuing to give it ice water baths until you have cold pasta. Barilla (in the blue box) is the only pasta we buy.
We discovered Gold Peak Tea a few years back when on vacation, and I was so excited to find it at Walmart. It comes in several different flavors but ultimately I chose to buy green tea. It is lightly sweet and refreshing all on its own so there is no need to ever add anything, but I like to drop a fresh lemon slice in my glass to be fancy.
The herbed balsamic dressing adds a nice bite to this salad, and it comes together very easily. We should all make our own dressing more often!
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar of modena
- 2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- handfull of fresh basil leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. Barilla rotini pasta
- 1 yellow zucchini chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 10 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced and chopped
- In a blender, add vinegar, mustard, garlic and herbs.
- Blend to combine ingredients.
- Turn blender on low and slowly add the olive oil.
- Set aside
- Cook pasta and drain.
- Fill the pot with cold water and ice until the cooked pasta becomes chilled.
- Add ½ cup of dressing to the chilled pasta and mix well.
- Gently mix in fresh veggies and cheese until combines.
Agness of Run Agness Run says
Delicious salad recipe, Heather! My family adores pasta, so I can’t wait to introduce this salad into our Sunday lunch.
Thanks Agness! I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think after you try it!