Pasta Salad with Summer Vegetables

Oh, my. Where have the last three weeks gone? It seems like just yesterday I was packing for my trip to Florida, and yet it’s been three weeks since my return. Well, blogland, how have you been?

I had a wonderful vacation, and I would highly recommend you visit St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Well, I would have recommended it, but I’m not sure any of the beaches on the gulf would be on my list of places to visit currently :( There was one downside to my trip – I learned (the hard way) of a beast known as a sand flea. In fact, I met many, many of these vile creatures. I never saw them or felt them, but I returned home covered in bites. It looked like I had chicken pox, I had so many red spots! I was miserably itchy for days which led to the constant consumption of antihistamines and regularly scheduled slatherings of anti-itch cream… neither of which managed to help the itch. By the time I regained consciousness from my Benadryl haze, it was time for the summer semester to start, and then my mom and I took a long weekend trip to Illinois for my cousin’s wedding. Just as my bite wounds are slowly fading and now just make me appear to have blotchy skin, I am slowly getting back into the swing of normal life.

Now, I’m sure after my mention of being swarmed by beach bugs you are all rushing to get your camping gear together and head out to pitch a tent, right? The first thing everyone who saw my pox-like limbs said to me was, “I bet you won’t be going camping anymore, will you?” Even Ryan asked if we would ever make another trek to the great outdoors. Despite the week of itching and the several weeks of looking like a leper, I will definitely go camping again. I’ll even return to the beach (once the oil is gone anyway). It really was so relaxing and beautiful down there. Here is one of my favorite pictures from our trip – it was taken on a nearby beach, totally natural and empty:

Regardless of whether you’ll be heading out to sleep under the stars or just to celebrate the warmer weather in someone’s backyard, this is a great recipe for summer. Typical side dishes like potato salad or traditional pasta salads can have mayonnaise or other ingredients that don’t fare well in higher temperatures, but this recipe is safe to take on a picnic or leave sitting out for a while without worry. It’s light and fresh which is perfect for the season.

Pasta Salad with Summer Vegetables
4 oz green beans, cut into 2” pieces
4 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 tbsp red onion, minced
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
8 oz whole wheat penne
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, minced
2 tsp fresh parsley leaves, minced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Cook the pasta, following package instructions for al dente pasta. In the last three minutes of boiling, add the green beans. Drain the pasta and green beans, and rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to large bowl, and toss with tomatoes, carrot, onion, basil, and parsley. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, and pepper flakes, then toss with pasta and vegetables until combine. Stir in parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.

Source: From Cook’s Illustrated “The Best Light Recipe”, p.52
6 servings | 4 POINTS


June 8, 2010. recipes.


  1. @ replied:

    Thanks for the recipe! Definitely is a good option for a hot summer day

  2. Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes replied:

    This looks like the perfect summer dish! So colorful and bright, love it. Glad you had a nice vacay, I’m a local Floridian myself :) xxSAS

  3. Kayte replied:

    This salad look so wonderful…stealing. Sounds like a lovely vacation, thanks for sharing pics of it.

  4. chayacomfycook replied:

    I just printed this and I am hoping to make it for dinner tomorrow night. I think, I have everything, in the house, already. Nope, no red wine vinegar. I will find another and hope it will work well.

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