Summer is winding down, and I don’t think I’ve ever been looking forward to a cool rainy afternoon as much as this year. It was one hot summer here in the Northwest. Now maybe I noticed it a bit more this year because I literally spent at least one-half of every day cooking. This year it was primarily zucchini. Don’t click off the blog just yet, this recipe doesn’t have zucchini in it. I’m done publishing zucchini recipes for the summer, really!! I promise! Do I hear a collective sigh of relief?
Actually, because I do have soooo many zucchini recipes after this year’s bumper crop, I’ve decided to write a zucchini cookbook that should be published by the holidays – cross fingers. The cookbook will include the standbys of soups and salads, zucchini breads, muffins, cookies, and cakes, along with casseroles and frittatas, as well as some “out-of-the-box” recipes such as Zesto (zucchini pesto), Strawberry Zucchini jam, Sweet Zucchini relish (like pickle relish), Hummus (made with roasted zucchini), Tater Zots (zucchini tater tots). Watch for an announcement and more information about this cookbook in the Fall.
Today’s post is all about an easy salad that can be put together in a matter of minutes. Well, that is if you have pre-cooked pasta to use up. If not, just cook up a small batch of pasta (any kind really) to take advantage of this luscious salad. It’s great for a light lunch or dinner for two, or double the recipe if having guests or need more portions.
When I make pasta, I usually make extra to dry and use for another meal. If you just drop in on a pasta making day, you will find it hanging all over the kitchen on racks and hangers. Angel hair and bucatini are hubby’s favorites and after 45+ years of marriage, he has tried other pasta shapes and types with my coaxing, but still has his favorites.
The grands often like to make pasta when they visit.
Onions and garlic drying for future use. We’ll see how successful the onion and garlic storage is. I’m hoping to have a good supply of both through at least the first few months of Fall.
Most of the ingredients are from our garden. The green beans and tomatoes are jumping off their vines into my harvest baskets by the cup load, so wanted to create a recipe to use them up. The red onions did much better in the garden this year than the yellow – don’t know why – they just did. So most of my recipes this summer have included red onions, mainly because I have the most of them.
- 6-8 ounces pasta (I used angel hair - or choose your favorite pasta)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ pound fresh green beans, ends snipped off
- 15 cherry tomatoes, halved (or more if you like tomatoes)
- 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped fine
- ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
- 8 fresh basil leaves (if larger leaves cut down to 4 leaves), chiffonaded
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or more per your taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Cook pasta according to directions on the package, and drain well. (Or if you're Italian, you know the drill with fresh pasta, right?)
- In a medium bowl, toss the pasta with the olive oil.
- Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil to blanch the green beans. Have a bowl of ice water ready for green bean bath. Submerge green beans in the ice water to stop cooking. Drain well and cut into bite-size pieces.
- Stir the beans, tomatoes, olives, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the bowl of pasta. Adjust the seasonings to taste, and serve.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese over salad - optional.
If you like angel hair pasta but don’t want long strands, chop or snap the pasta into small pieces before you cook them. You can buy a package of small cut pieces of angel hair at the grocery store too. I would recommend using a substantial pasta in this salad so it holds up with the raw vegetables and doesn’t get too mushy.
If you want to add other vegetables, most are likely to work well in this salad (like broccoli and cauliflower) – I know zucchini does! 🙂