Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Summer Fresh Vegetables is an easy and healthy side dish recipe perfect for grilling, BBQ, picnics or other summer gatherings using garden or farmer’s market produce and whole grain pasta!
Where has the summer gone? I can’t believe that it is already the last week in July!! School starts next week down here and I am just not ready! It seems like the kids were just getting out of school for the summer and just doesn’t seem possible that they are going back already…Anybody in the same boat? Lil man also has a birthday this week and then next week he will start the First Grade 🙂 Craziness!!
We celebrated his birthday last week at our annual lake vacation. We kept it simple and easy with the birthday celebration and I was pleasantly surprised by how much he seemed to enjoy it 🙂 It was just a lovely dinner, cake and ice cream, and then (of course) presents 😉 All of the presents kinda had a theme, they were all “water related” toys that the boys could enjoy at the lake! We love encouraging them to play outside at the lake and not too much time “screen time.”
While I didn’t’ make this Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Summer Fresh Vegetables on the lake vacation, I did make it for a Sunday dinner right before we left. I was feeling exceptionally lazy and ready for vacay so I went with this super simple mediterranean pasta to go with our grilled chicken for dinner. I had some peppers, tomatoes and definitely plenty of basil to use from my container gardens before we left and I grabbed some zucchini, artichokes and feta from the grocery store and that steered me to more classic greek flavors that came together in this mediterranean pasta salad.
One of the keys to this pasta salad is the grilled zucchini (IMHO) 😉 During the summer, I always have the boys (I think I have mentioned that me and the outdoor grill do not get along…I ALWAYS burn myself…so I let the boys man the grill – they would rather anyways) throw slices of zucchini on the grill when we are using the outdoor grill. I will put the “recipe” below, but it is simply medium zucchini sliced in half (you need some of the skin on each piece to help hold it together), dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and some grill seasoning and then grilled until tender. Once cooked through, I slice it into bite-sized pieces and add to the pasta salad – just another yummy layer of flavor!!
Here is your recipe for Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Summer Fresh Vegetables:
- 1 box (13.25 oz.) whole grain pasta
- 3 small bell peppers (any variety that you like: green, red, yellow, orange, etc.), ribs and seeds removed and diced.
- 2 mild peppers (cubanelles, banana, anaheim, etc.), ribs and seeds removed and diced.
- 1 jar or can (appx. 12-14 oz.) artichoke hearts in water, drained, rinsed and chopped
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 small container (3-4 oz.) of crumbled feta cheese
- ⅓ cup fresh basil, chopped
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 3 medium grilled zucchini (see instructions below for how to prepare), chopped into bite-size pieces
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Grill seasoning
- Cook pasta to al-dente, according to package instructions, drain, rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process, drain again, pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Add peppers, artichokes, tomatoes (or leave on the side if there is an allergy), balsamic vinegar, olive oil, feta cheese and basil. Stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place mixed pasta salad ingredients in the refrigerator to cool while the zucchini is cooking.
- Add chopped and grilled zucchini to pasta mixture and give it one final stir.
- Slice each zucchini in ½ lengthwise, leaving skin on ½ of each piece, resulting in 6 pieces
- Season each piece with a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil and a sprinkle of grill seasoning.
- Grill over medium to medium-low heat for 4 minutes on each side or until tender (but not mushy)
- Remove from grill and let the zucchini rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.
If you don't want to grill the zucchini, they could be left raw or lightly sauteed.