Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

21 06 2015

This pasta salad is light, fresh and super tasty – great for serving in the summer! I love taking ideas I see on in my fav cooking shows or magazines and making them my own. This recipe is a great example, thanks to the Food Network’s The Kitchen for the pineapple-zucchini salsa idea!

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

The following serves 6-8 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and The Kitchen):

  • 2 small to medium-size zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 of a peeled and cored pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 lb gemelli pasta
  • 2 small to medium-size shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (save yourself time and use it from the tube)
  • 2 tsp finely diced jalapeno or your favorite hot sauce, use more or less depending on how much spice you like
  • 6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Champagne or Chardonnay Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro or mint
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium. Grill the pineapple and zucchini for a few minutes on each side until beginning to char. You still want the zucchini to have a little crunch. Remove from the grill and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, diced the pineapple and zucchini and add to a large bowl or casserole dish. Toss with the cucumber, and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk the shallots, ginger, jalapeno or hot sauce, oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to the pineapple-zucchini mixture and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with salt and cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to pan to cool slightly.

Add the slightly cooled pasta to the dressed pineapple-zucchini mixture. Add the cilantro or mint and toss everything well to combine. Season with a little more salt and pepper to taste if needed. You can also add more oil or vinegar if you’d like.

Store covered in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Italian-Deli Pasta Salad

28 05 2014

Wish I could take credit for this quick pasta salad, but it’s all Food Network Magazine on this one. Love the idea of using a jar of giardiniera (Italian relish of pickled veggies) – so tasty and such a fast ingredient to use. I just so happen to have an extra jar in the pantry. So when I saw this in my #FNMag, I knew I had to whip this up for our Memorial Day cookout!

Italian-Deli Pasta Salad

The following serves 8 (adapted from Food Network Magazine):

  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (original recipe called for mayo)
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 16 oz jar of giardiniera, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup diced provolone (I suggest sharp provolone)
  • 1 cup diced salami (about 3/4 of a pound) – take some help from your deli, ask them to cut quarter-inch slices rather than giving you a large chunk of salami, this will make your chopping at home much easier!
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water to stop the cooking. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil and vinegar. Toss the dressing with the pasta, along with the chopped giardinera, provolone, salami, parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This Girl’s time-saving prep tip: Save yourself time day-of, and make most of this salad a day in advance. Chop the giardiniera, cheese and salami and store in individual ziplock bags or containers in the fridge. Chop the parsley and basil and store together in a ziplock in the fridge. Finally, make the dressing and store that covered in the fridge. Then the next day, cook the pasta and mix everything together…now you’re good to go to your party in no time!

BBQ Macaroni Salad with Corn, Spinach and Scallions

21 08 2013

This BBQ macaroni salad is a great summer side dish that comes together quickly! I served it alongside grilled chicken brats for a speedy Sunday lunch with friends, but this side dish would compliment any grilled meat.

BBQ Macaroni Salad with Corn, Spinach and Scallions

BBQ Macaroni Salad with Corn, Spinach and Scallions

The following serves 6: (compliments of Cuisine Lite and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 bag frozen corn kernels (about 2 cups)
  • Half bag of fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (use whatever is your fav or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni to al dente, according to package directions. Add the corn and spinach to the same pot 2 minutes before pasta is done cooking. Strain pasta, corn and spinach, reserving some of the pasta-cooking water.

Add the BBQ sauce and chili powder to the pot. Stir in some of the pasta water, a few Tablespoons. Next, stir in the macaroni, corn and spinach to combine with the BBQ mixture. If the sauce looks too thick, add some more of the pasta water to thin it out. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top with scallions and serve. If making ahead of time, serve cold or at room temp….it’s a versatile side dish!

Pasta Salad With Grilled Peppers, Feta and Mint

28 05 2012

This is a killer pasta salad kids, it comes together fast and is good for summer picnics…a must try! Food Network Magazine had a great recipe for a pepper, mint and feta side dish as well as a tasty vinaigrette. I combined the two, added pasta and a few other twists and poof, a This Girl classic!

Pasta Salad With Grilled Peppers, Feta and Mint

The following serves 10 as a side dish:

  • 1 lb Gemelli pasta (I liked the shape of Gemelli to stand up to the peppers, but use whatever you like)
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered
  • 2 orange bell peppers, seeded and quartered
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and quartered
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Large handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 8 oz crumbled feta cheese

Preheat a grill to high. Toss quartered bell peppers with enough olive oil to coat, salt and red pepper flakes. Grill, turning, until blistered, about 10 minutes. Be sure to watch these as your grill might cook faster. Transfer to a bowl until cool enough to handle.

While peppers are grilling, boil water and cook pasta to al dente according to the package. Drain and rinse until cold water.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: Whisk 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 minced shallot, zest of 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. I like to make this in the bottom of my serving bowl to save on cleanup 🙂

Toss the pasta in the vinaigrette right it’s been rinsed and is still warm, this will help flavor the pasta. You may not want to use the whole pound, just toss a little in at a time until all the vinaigrette is soaked up. I used about 3/4 of a pound.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle. Cut in strips and add to pasta and vinaigrette and top with the juice of the zested lemon. Toss with chopped mint and crumbled feta. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Cool until ready to serve.