This Tricolor pasta salad with grilled zucchini and roasted red peppers is quick and easy to make but loaded with color and flavor. Serve with my sausage bread or with some pizza made from my homemade pizza dough recipe.
It’s the dog days of summer; hot, hot, hot! Time to get out of the kitchen and away from a hot stove. Did you ever wonder what the saying, dog days of summer meant? According to Wikipedia, “they are the hot, sultry, days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.” There, now you know.
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Pasta is the main event in this salad. Choose a shape that appeals to you. I love the tricolor corkscrew pasta for salad. Are you gluten-free? No problem choose a gluten-free pasta instead.
Vegetables. Let your imagination go wild with the vegetables. Choose your favorite, grill them, put them in raw, chop them, dice them, and add them whole. What is fresh in my garden is my inspiration for the vegetables. Grilled squash, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers add color, flavor, and texture in this salad.
Add some diced protein. How does chopped salami sound or maybe some diced chicken breast? Mini mozzarella balls anyone? Are you vegan or vegetarian? Add in cubes of tofu or tempeh instead of meat.
Time for the dressing.
You just created an amazing salad! Now give it the dressing it deserves. Oh no, not salad dressing from a jar or package. No additives and preservatives on your salad. Whip up a quick and delicious dressing with this recipe. The secret to this dressing is fresh herbs added to the hot roasted zucchini. Mince the herbs and add them to the hot roasted zucchini squash. Cover and let the hot zucchini wilt the fresh herbs. Then dice the zucchini, add the oil and red wine vinegar pour over the salad and mix it in.
That’s it. This recipe makes a large salad that will feed about eight or ten people. You might be tempted to cut the recipe in half; however, I think it is just as good the next day. It is easily reduced by half if you want to make less though.
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- grill pan
- 1 lb pasta tricolor corkscrews
- 2 medium zucchini grilled
- 2 red peppers roasted, peeled and diced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese fresh mini balls
- 4 ounces salami diced
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup basil packed
- ¼ cup Italian parsley packed
- ¼ cup oregano packed
- 2 tsp spicy brown mustard
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil extra virgin
- Grill the red peppers, peel, and dice. Don't have time to grill the peppers; dice them and use them fresh.
- Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and set aside to cool in a large bowl.
- Slice the zucchini into 1/2 inch slices. Grill the zucchini slices on a very hot grill pan or in a grill basket on the BBQ. You want it to still be a little crunchy with charr marks. If the pan or BBQ isn't hot enough it will get soft before it charrs. Once grilled place in a heat-safe bowl and add the minced herbs. Cover and set aside. The heat from the zucchini will wilt and partially cook the herbs. This enhances the flavor they add to the salad.
- While zucchini is cooling dice the salami, cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and add to the pasta.
- Add the diced grilled or raw peppers to the pasta.
- Once the zucchini is cooled about 15 minutes, dice it, put it back in the bowl. Add the olive oil, mustard, and red wine vinegar to the zucchini in the bowl and mix well. Add this mixture to the pasta.
- Mix the pasta with all the added ingredients.
- Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.