Summer is upon us in full force and it is a wonderful thing to behold. Days are long, pants are short, and just about every morning we are greeted with rays of sunshine beckoning us to get outside and enjoy the day.
I’ve had my hands full enjoying the finest this season has to offer including long evenings on restaurant patios, strolls through the farmer’s market every Saturday, and copping rays on our fishing boat, Double Trouble. My posts here are infrequent and irregular, but I promise I haven’t forgotten my love of sharing our meals with you.
Truth be told, many of our dinners this summer are sourced from whatever happens to be in the kitchen. This could include a concoction of crusty farmer’s market bread, whatever berries we have on hand, hummus eaten straight out of the container, and leftover grilled veggies eaten cold because it’s just too darn hot heat anything up. Rarely have we turned on the oven or stove and if we do need to cook anything, we rely on our trusty grill.
On days when grab-and-go options are scarce, I’ll boil a pot of water and dump in some pasta. This will get mixed with my leftover grilled veggies and whatever dressing we have on hand to make the least fussy pasta salad imaginable.
I like to make a big batch, too. It’s great when it’s fresh, but what I really want is 2-3-4 day old pasta salad where the noodles have extra time to soak up the dressing and the veggies have become more tender thanks to some extra marinating. My heart has been craving nothing more than appropriately aged pasta salad this summer. So much so, the second I wake up I can’t help but slink into the kitchen and stand barefoot in front of the fridge propping the door with my shoulder and eat my leftover pasta salad right out of the container.
What’s great about this recipe is that it’s hardly a recipe at all. To be honest, it’s so easy I almost didn’t post it. But if I’m sharing real life here then you’re gonna get a glimpse of the pasta salad that’s defining my summer eating. The ingredients are 8 ounces cooked pasta (any kind – gluten free, penne, fusili, etc.) plus 4 cups grilled or roasted veggies of any kind and a roughly half to three quarters of a cup of dressing. The dressing for this particular recipe is using my favorite vegan pesto found in this caprese salad, but a lemony vinaigrette, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or even bottled Olive Garden dressing has worked for me.
The veggies can be whatever you like. This version uses green beans with roasted red pepper strips and kale. I’m also a big fan of grilled zucchini, eggplant, and fresh chunks of summer tomatoes.
I love this salad so much, it’s coming with me everywhere this summer. No mayo means it’s great for parties and it’s definitely coming with me on fishing trips this year. I hope you have exciting plans for the remainder of your summer, friends!
- 8 oz Pasta Any kind - gluten free, penne, fusili, etc
- 2 Cups Fresh Green Beans Ends Trimmed
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Cup Kale Roughly Chopped
- 1/2-3/4 Cup Pesto Recipe Here
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- If grilling your veggies, preheat the grill to medium. Place the green beans in a grill basket or on a sheet of aluminum foil laid over the grill plates. Place the whole red bell pepper directly over the flames and allow it to char on each side. Alternatively, you can preheat your oven to 415 and roast the green beans and bell pepper on a sheet pan. The pepper won't get the same char, but the skin can get left on in this case.
- Once the green beans have started to blister and the bell pepper is charred, remove from the heat. Allow the bell pepper to cool slightly before removing the skin (if grilled) and chopping into thin strips being sure to discard the seeds. Place the cooked veggies in a large bowl with the chopped kale.
- While the veggies are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add about 2-3 tablespoons of salt to the water. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Toss the pasta with the veggies and pesto, adding more pesto, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!