Sometimes you just want something fast, easy, healthy, filling, and yummy. Is that too much to ask? With this warm pasta and vegetable salad, you can have it all. As a bonus, it is a one-dish meal—unless you fancy a slice of bread with your pasta. But with all the goodness included, this dish can stand alone.
The base of the dressing comes from this Fresh Tomato Salad. You can also substitute bottled Italian salad dressing, but this dish is a great excuse to try the tomato salad earlier in the week.
I love being able to add as many different vegetables as I can. This is a good clean-out-your-veggie-drawer sort of salad. Check what is hiding in your fridge and get chopping. The flavor combination of the vegetables and the richness of the pine nuts is only enhanced by the silkiness of the feta cheese. When you add fresh parsley and basil to the dish, everything gets bright and happy.
If you aren’t a fan of pine nuts, swap them out for another type of nut. Same with the feta cheese. But you really should try it once as written, because the combo really is delicious. It’s well worth adding the ingredients to your shopping list, even if they’re not usually your favorites.
Everything can be prepped, chopped, and sauteed while the pasta is coming to a boil. Then it is a quick cook and dinner of warm pasta and vegetable salad is served.
How to Chiffonade
One technique you may not be familiar with is how to chiffonade (pronounced: shif-oh-NOD) the basil. This means cutting an herb or leafy vegetable into thin ribbons. So here is a quick three-step tutorial:
- Arrange the basil leaves in a stack.
- Roll the leaves into a tight tube. (Hold the tube with your non-dominate hand, so it stays tight.
- With your knife perpendicular to the tube, (keeping the point of the knife on the cutting board,) slice the tube of leaves in a thin slice.
This will create a bunch of thin ribbons. Just remember that the edges of basil starts to darken soon after it is cut, so do your chiffonade cut just before to add the basil to the pasta.Print
A warm pasta salad that incorporates tons of veggies and a flavorful tomato vinaigrette with the silky texture of feta cheese.
- 12 ounces dry pasta (I used mini farfalle, also called bowtie)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 summer squash, sliced and quartered
- 1 cup broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 4 green onions, sliced (both white and green parts)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
- Reserved vinaigrette from Fresh Tomato Salad
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water according to package instructions to al dente. Drain pasta, and rinse under cold water for about 15 seconds until the pasta has slightly cooled. Pour warm pasta in a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, toss lightly to coat the pasta.
- Prepare the vegetables by quartering and slicing. (The pieces should be slightly smaller than the pasta.)
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and saute the mushroom slices until the mushrooms give up their liquid. Stir in the minced shallot and garlic and continue cooking until mushrooms start to brown. Remove the mushrooms and set aside.
- Add the carrots to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the red pepper, broccoli and summer squash and cook until the vegetables are tender to the bite, about 2 minutes more.
- Combine the cooked vegetables and mushrooms with the warm pasta. Stir in the crumbled feta cheese, sliced green onions, quartered grape tomatoes, minced parsley, and basil chiffonade.
- In a liquid measuring cup add the tomato vinaigrette reserved from the Fresh Tomato Salad. Stir in the Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, and red wine vinegar and stir well to combine. Taste and add salt and black pepper if needed.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the warm pasta and toss everything well.
- Serve warm with crusty bread, if desired.
The reserved tomato vinaigrette should equal 2/3 cup. If substituting bottled Italian dressing, add that much to the pasta and then if you feel the pasta needs more, drizzle a bit more on the pasta—but be frugal, you don’t want the vegetables and pasta to be drowning in dressing.