Zucchini and Peppers Salad with Pasta
Remember those silly things that teenagers keep saying? Correction, that we all used to say as teenagers? ‘Life without you is like a night without a moon… like peanut butter without jelly…’ and so on. I got a new one… life without you is like a summer without Freon! Why this sudden focus on a chemical gas? My air conditioner is out of Freon and I’m feeling the impact of the summer heat inside the house! 🙂 It is not terribly terrible – yet – though enough to make me look for ways to minimize time in the kitchen. One solution will be to eat more salads. But the simple green salads only make me more hungry. I need salads with some heft in them… So here I was looking forward to devising some interesting salads!
When you think about salads of substance, the first that come to mind are pasta salads. Okay, actually one thinks of potato salad first, but I have written about it very recently; so let’s go with a pasta salad. Good thing about pasta salad is that you can add a lot of stuff into it to make it interesting. And I wanted them fresh.
So a saunter to the local farm market later, it was clear what was going into the salad. Green and orange peppers and zucchini… perfectly matches the colours of the pasta! And cherry tomatoes and onions are always in the refrigerator.
An easy way to add vegetables to a pasta dish, and keep them crispy. You boil the pasta as usual in salted water… and just two minutes before it will be ready, you turn up the heat to bring the water to a rolling boil.
Throw in the cut vegetables that need cooking and wait for exactly 1 minute. Pour the whole thing into a colander, followed by a handful of ice cubes.
Swirl together to ensure that the ice is moved around cooling things down quickly. The ice treatment helps the vegetables keep their colour and crispiness while being perfectly cooked.
And when all the water from the melting ice is drained off, you are ready to add the rest of the stuff.
A simple dressing of lemon juice, red wine vinegar and whole grain mustard, of course with some olive oil, finished the salad.
I was going to use the salad dressing maker to shake up the dressing. And then realized it would be much quicker to mix it all up with a whisk. Isn’t that often the way it is? You have this wonderful gizmo that will make it all sooo easy, but then you spend more time cleaning up the thing than you saved by using it! Then again, there are some tools in the kitchen that you cannot imagine doing without! It could be fun taking stock of the gadgets and gizmos in our kitchens! Look forward to something on those line here soon!
- 1 cup pasta of your choice, whole wheat preferably
- 1 green zucchini
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 green pepper
- ½ onion
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1tsp whole grain mustard
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Sprigs of basil, pinched into pieces
- Bowl of ice cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the zucchini and peppers into bite sized pieces.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes.
- Slice the onion thinly, crosswise.
- Bring to boil a pot of water with salt.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook reducing heat.
- After 8 to 10 minutes, based on how well done you want the pasta to be, increase the heat and bring the water to a rolling boil again.
- Add the zucchini and pepper pieces and continue to boil for exactly one minute.
- Drain in a colander and immediately add the ice cubes to the colander, swirling the colander to ensure that the ice cools the pasta and vegetables quickly and uniformly.
- Set aside to drain completely.
- Mix together the red wine vinegar, mustard and lemon juice. Add the olive oil and mix thoroughly.
- When the pasta and vegetables are completely drained, add the sliced onion and halved tomatoes. Add salt and pepper and mix together.
- Transfer to a serving dish and pour the dressing over.
- Garnish with basil leaves, and serve immediately, or cool in the refrigerator for later.