The summer season brings an abundance of summer squash. Both yellow crook-neck squash and zucchini are plentiful. I take every opportunity to incorporate them into our meals.
One of our favorite meals during the warm months is this lovely pasta salad. It’s very flavorful and filling but, still light enough to be enjoyed even on the hottest of Georgia days.
We spend most of our time outdoors April through September and really enjoy all the sunshine and long days. We make the most of our time at home by swimming in the pool, going on long walks in our neighborhood in the evenings and biking at the nearby bike trails.
I love to have meals planned that are quick and easy and do not keep me inside in the kitchen. This pasta salad fits the bill. Throw in some toasted sprouted grain or gluten free bread and you have a fabulous summertime meal.
I actually used to make this dish with a bottled salad dressing. “Kraft Zesty Italian” dressing was one of our favorites. I also added more chicken than veggies. Once we cleaned up our meals in the Rhinehart household I changed this recipe up quite a bit. I now use a gluten free pasta made with quinoa…. Ancient Harvest Supergrain Penne Pasta. I also make my own Zesty Italian dressing now. Just a bit of a high quality, nutty parmesan cheese in the salad dressing goes a long way and adds to the flavor of this salad. I have to say….It is way better than Kraft.
You can make this salad with or without the chicken. Without the chicken… it is perfect as a side dish at your summer bar-b-cues or picnics. Personally, I love it with just veggies but, my husband prefers it with chicken.
Give this healthy and nutritious pasta salad a try this summer. Spend more time outside soaking up the sun… than in the kitchen over a hot stove. You and your family will love it. Even the kiddos will ask for seconds.
|Pasta Salad Primavera....Gluten Free|| |
- 1 box of Ancient Harvest Penne Pasta
- 2 cups of cooked pastured, organic or all natural chicken, shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken) - Optional
- 1 pint of organic grape tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced and slices cut in half
- 1 medium yellow crook-neck squash, sliced and slices cut in half
- ¼ of a red onion, sliced very thin and slices cut in half
- ½ of a yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup of Kalamata olives, sliced
- FOR THE DRESSING:
- ¾ Cup of extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ Cup of red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons of minced shallots (Alternatively you may use dried minced onion)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon of dried basil
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon of honey or agave
- ¼ teaspoon of cracked black pepper
- In a mason jar combine all of the ingredients for the dressing, close the lid tightly and shake the jar until well mixed. Set aside.
- Cook the penne pasta according to package directions. Rinse, drain and set aside to cool completely.
- Shred the cooked chicken and set aside.
- Slice the zucchini and yellow squash, onion and yellow bell pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl, Add the pasta, chicken, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, yellow bell pepper and Kalamata olives into the bowl and give a good stir to combine all ingredients.
- Pour the Italian Dressing over the pasta and stir well.
- Serve immediately at room temperature.
- Left overs keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.