Fresh, local produce is my favorite thing about summer! We are fortunate enough to have a local, organic farm 5 minutes from us and we are also huge fans of visiting the farmer’s markets nearby. It feels so good to support local farmers.
This healthy pasta salad is a great way to use up those summer vegetables. You can pretty much use any combination of veggies that you’d like, but I’m a fan of zucchini, asparagus, and peppers. Kalamata olives and a light lemon vinaigrette top of this salad which are the perfect complements to the grilled vegetables. I like to use fresh parsley but I think basil would be a great fresh herb to use as well.
This is a great salad to bring with to you next get together. We have brought this as a side dish and have eaten as a main dish as well. It’s great with some grilled chicken, but if meat isn’t your thing, you can skip that part. I love to make a huge bowl of this so we are sure to have leftovers for easy lunches.
Stock up on those summer veggies and next time you’re grilling make sure to grill up a ton of extra veggies so you can make this salad. Simply cut up the veggies and throw on some skewers and grill to perfection!
Tips for a Great Pasta Salad
- Use a small shaped pasta as the shape of the pasta helps trap in the dressing and flavor – I prefer to use fusilli pasta.
- Cook the pasta in salty water – it helps season the pasta as it cooks.
- Cook the pasta slightly longer than normal – you don’t want it mushy, but pasta tends to harden when it’s cooled.
- Dress the pasta salad while the pasta is still hot – this will help the dressing to absorb.
- Make ahead of time – allowing the pasta to sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight helps to trap in the flavor!
Cooking your Vegetables
- Veggies can be grilled or cooked in the oven. I love them grilled, but if needed you can cook in the oven at 350.
- I use metal skewers when grilling, but if you have wooden skewers soak the skewers in water first so they don’t start on fire.
- You could skip the skewers all together and cook in a grill basket too!
What Keeps This Salad Clean
- Look for pasta with one or two ingredients at the most. Brown rice pasta is a great gluten-free pasta, but lentil pasta is another one of my favorite gluten-free pastas and would be delicious as well.
- Fresh, easy lemon vinaigrette is a great alternative to store bought varieties (and it’s so easy to make). By making your own dressing you can ensure you are using healthiest, cleanest oils and ingredients.
- It’s loaded with veggies and you can never have too many vegetables.
What other veggies would you add to this salad?
If you make this recipe, please let me know what you think! Leave a comment below and/or share a photo on Instagram and mention @CleanPlateMama!
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
- 1 lb fusilli pasta (gluten-free if needed)
- 4 peppers (I prefer a combo of red, yellow, and/or orange)
- 2 large zucchinis
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives pitted
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley (basil would be good too)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Boil a large pot of salted water and cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat grill to med-high; about 400/450 degrees.
- While grill is preheating and noodles are cooking, mix the vinaigrette. Whisk the olive oil with red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, garlic, and salt. Toss noodles (while still warm) with vinaigrette and store in fridge until veggies are done.
- Slice zucchinis into 1/2" slices and cut peppers into 1" squares.
- Toss zucchinis and peppers in 1 tbsp. olive oil and thread onto skewers.
- Toss asparagus in 1 tbsp. olive oil.
- Place zucchini and pepper skewers on grill and lay asparagus directly on grill rack.
- Grill vegetables for 10-15 minutes, rotating frequently. Vegetables are done when tender and slightly charred. Depending on how thick your asparagus spears are, the asparagus will most likely be done before the zucchini and pepper skewers.
- Allow vegetables to cool. Cut zucchini slices in half or thirds and then mix veggies into pasta salad. Mix in the Kalamata olives and fresh parsley.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.
- Dress the cooked pasta with the vinaigrette while pasta is still warm – this will help to soak in the flavor from the dressing.
- Pasta is best served within 48 hours. Dressing may begin to dry after being refrigerated for multiple days. If pasta seems dry, mix in some additional olive oil and vinegar before serving again.