If I get to a point where the dish rack has to be relocated to accommodate tomatoes on the kitchen counter, then this happens. I guess I could have made salsa, but that's usually what I want to do come September when the prospect of losing my plants to an early frost (and visions of us starving during a cold winter) sets in.
Does the world need another pasta salad recipe? I think yes! I have a trick to making a dizzying good pasta salad, I always add a squeeze or two of Dijon mustard and tomato paste to the mix. I love Dijon mustard. Any interpretation of "pasta salad" works--to me, it's all in the dressing. And based upon your own particular preference, adding more acid to the salad or more oil is completely fine. Just taste as you make.
Grilling the veggies gives it a nice smoky side effect. Fresh herbs are a must, too. Basically any shape of pasta will work. In a pinch and not in the mood for a trip to the store, I've even made this salad using spaghetti noodles. To get the most flavor from the dressing, I marinated the tomatoes, olives and garlic for about 30 minutes before tossing it all together. It helps to have veggies plucked right from your own yard--not bragging, just saying. I used four varieties of tomatoes in this. *I'm knocking on wood as I write, but my tomato season looks really good. . . so far. A little late, but good. I've not had to feed them once, watering once a week (well, except for last week when it was like living in hell around here--I watered twice). This is why I believe so strongly in no-til gardening and crop rotation. Mother Nature can handle the rest. She's been growing vegetables longer than I have.
Truthfully, I haven't been to the farmers market yet. I had tons of this cotton yarn sitting in a drawer (was I in some sort of bright green and teal mood or what?) and decided it needed to be used. Very quick project. I guess I could line it with some fun fabric, too. Probably not.
Here's the pattern if you'd like to whip up one of these for yourself.
Grilled Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad with Fresh Basil
(*Make it your own by using any veggies you have on hand)
1 lb. pasta (any shape)
4 medium tomatoes
1 yellow zucchini (cut in half, then sliced 1/3" thick for grilling)
1 green zucchini (cut in half, then sliced 1/3" thick for grilling)
1 cucumber (sliced in half, then quartered and cut into the same size as pasta you are using)
1 white onion (sliced into 1/3" thick for grilling)
3 garlic cloves minced
1/3 cup kalamata olives (pits removed and chopped)
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed then chopped
8-10 basil leaves
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
For the dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
Cook your pasta per package directions, rinse and set aside in a large bowl with a bit of olive oil tossed over it to keep it from sticking. Next, in a medium bowl, mix together the dressing. Chop the tomatoes and mince the garlic and add these along with the cucumber, capers and olives to the dressing and marinate them for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the grill or set a stove top grill up for indoor grilling. Grill the veggies just until a few patches of brown appears. The zucchini should keep its shape and not wilt under the heat. Same for the onion. Allow these to cool, then slice for adding to the bowl of pasta. Pour the dressing over this and toss well to coat. Last step: chop up the basil and oregano and add to the salad and toss again. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!