Another Wednesday, another quick weeknight meal.
I don’t know about you, but yesterday was rough. The day after a long holiday weekend usually isn’t the best, but I felt like I was constantly playing catch-up with all the stuff I have to do.Work, errands, house stuff, meal prep…. I usually do a lot of prepping stuff on the weekends so I don’t have to think about it during the week while I work but since we weren’t really home this weekend none of that got done. I never realize how long it takes to get food on the table if you haven’t even done a little prepping.
Cue this pasta salad. A quick chop of a few vegetables, cooking some noodles, and tossing everything together made a really fast meal when I didn’t have much in my kitchen to work with. It’s also really good when it’s hot out and you don’t want to spend a bunch of time in front of the stove.
You can easily adapt this recipe to accommodate whatever vegetables you have on hand and you, of course, can add in cooked meat like chicken, fish, or pork if you want to add extra protein. Make a big batch of this and you can have multiple meals without ever thinking about it. I love recipes like that. Big batch cooking is where it’s at folks.
Vegetable Pasta Salad
- 1 box of pasta, I used gluten-free penne but rigatoni or macaroni would work too
- 1 zucchini or summer squash, sliced into half moons
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 ear of corn, cooked and kernels removed (could also use 1 cup frozen & thawed corn)
- 1 shallot, diced
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- juice and zest of one lemon
- juice and zest of one lime
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup cooked meat (chicken, fish, pork, or beef), optional
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Chop up all the vegetables and cilantro and put into a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the lemon and lime juice and zest as well as the shallot, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk everything together really well. It should look slightly creamy once you’re done whisking.
- Put the cooled pasta into the bowl with the vegetables and mix a few times then pour the dressing over everything and stir until everything is coated with the dressing.
- If you’re using meat, add that in now and stir to combine and then finish with the fresh cilantro.
You can eat this right away or if you’re making it ahead of time, just keep it in the fridge covered until you’re ready to eat. Experiment with whatever vegetables you have on hand:
All good options. If you have some extra time and want to add another layer of flavor to the salad, try sauteeing the vegetables in a skillet until they are golden.
Want more protein but don’t eat meat? Try:
- black beans
- cannellini beans
- cooked lentils
You could also add nuts or seeds like:
- sunflower seeds
This meal is meant to serve as a base for whatever you have on hand so don’t be afraid to get creative!