For the last Friday of a vacation week, we were heading to my parents for lunch and relaxing on their patio. A couple days earlier, my mom had called me, very excited about a recipe she saw for a pasta salad in the Toronto Sun. Not wanting to ask why on earth she was reading the Sun, I asked her about the recipe and it sounded great. She prepared it for the Friday lunch.
The salad tasted great. The flavour mostly comes from both roasted and picked vegetables. My mom was especially excited about the recipe because it's very easy to prepare ahead of time. The vegetables can be roasted a day or two in advance and refrigerated, and the rest of the salad comes together quite easily. Mom also switched things up a bit and used roasted garlic (and more garlic than the original recipe stated) and was more liberal with the balsamic vinegar (but she didn't remember how much more liberal).
Although the recipe calls for some parmesean cheese for garnish, I actually think that adding 1/2 cup feta cheese immediately before serving would really do the trick. Not having any feta on hand, we weren't able to try it.
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2 zucchini, cut lengthwise into thick strips
- 8 stalks asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1 250g package cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 package (500g) rotini pasta
- 1 medium jar (340ml) marinated artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
- 3 roasted red peppers, skinned and cut into strips
- 4 cloves roasted garlic, minced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2-3 basil leaves, chopped
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss onion, zucchini, asparagus and mushrooms in olive oil, salt and pepper and transfer to cookie sheets.
- Grill the vegetables in the oven for 5 minutes, turn and continue grilling for another 5 minutes until tender and crispy
- Remove vegetables from oven and let cool. Roughly chop vegetables and transfer to a container if preparing in advance. Cook pasta until al dente following the package directions, rinse and drain.
- When ready to serve, in a large bowl, toss pasta, grilled vegetables, artichokes, roasted peppers, garlic, tomatoes, olives, oil, vinegar, parsley, basil and feta cheese and serve.
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