summer garden pasta salad

The vegetable garden is full of good things for cool summer salads, like this take on pasta salad that has just about everything in it, but the kitchen sink! For a complete one-dish meal, crumble some feta cheese on top or chopped hard-boiled eggs. I added a couple of those perky little red South African peppadews for zip. A vegan version could include some garbanzo beans or perhaps cubed tofu to round out the proteins. But don’t let my list of ingredients limit you, and by all means add more or less of the vegetables, herbs depending on what you have on hand and personal tastes. Try adding some leftover corn sliced off the cob, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, chopped sweet red peppers, slivered sun-dried tomatoes, or maybe some canned artichoke hearts. There’s no limit. Here’s the start:

Summer Garden Pasta Salad

8 ounces penne (or your favorite salad pasta)

1 cup green beans, snapped in half

1 cup fresh garden peas (or frozen peas can substitute, just don’t defrost them)

1/4 cup sliced Calamata olives

1 cup spinach leaves, slivered

Fresh basil (lemon is best), parsley, oregano, chives—all chopped

1 clove garlic minced (or a tablespoon fresh garlic scapes chopped)

1-2 peppadews chopped (South African sweet/spicy peppers)

Lemon juice

Virgin olive oil

White balsamic vinegar

1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a big pot of water (with about a teaspoon of salt) to boil, and add the pasta. After five minutes, add the beans and boil briskly another five minutes. Place fresh peas in bottom of colander and drain pasta and beans over that and then run cold water over all to cool.

While pasta and beans are cooking, chop herbs, garlic (or scapes) and place in the bottom of a large bowl. Mix in oil (2-4 tablespoons or to taste), lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons), Balsamic vinegar (1-2 tablespoons), mustard, peppadews (and a bit of their liquid if desired), the peas if you are using frozen and the olive slices. Mix well with a fork. Fold in pasta and green beans and then fold in slivered spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill until serving time. This should serve four.