Still living in unbearable heat down here in South Florida, so my body only craves cold things. My mom makes these delicious cold pasta salads that sparked the thought of this one -- her's are much different, though. They are mayo based with ham, onions, peas, pineapples... I know, it probably sounds weird if you're not Cuban, but IYKYK!
This cold summer pasta salad is slightly different, featuring Mediterranean flavors like parsley and zucchini with a red wine vinaigrette dressing. It's a little sweet, a little tangy, and if you really want to level it up, you'll want to add some feta cheese to the mix.
The best part about this recipe is that it is E-Z. It only has a few ingredients that you likely have lying around the kitchen during the summer, and the longest part about it is boiling the pasta.
I saw on an IG reel that you shouldn't put ice on your pasta to cool it faster. I am not sure if that's true or the reason why, but that's exactly how I cooled down this pasta. You can't trust everything you see on there, anyway! For this recipe, I used Banza chickpea pasta. Some people love it, some people hate it, but regular wheat pasta makes my tummy hurt, and I really enjoy the flavor of this one. Plus, it's got extra protein and fiber, which makes for a more filling dish. You can feel free to use the pasta that meets YOUR needs. But whatever you do, make sure it's fun, like farfalle, rotini, or even macaroni.
The veggies each add unique color, texture, and flavor to this cold summer pasta salad. I chose veggies that are in season and feel hydrating and refreshing, like the juicy cherry tomato, crunchy zucchini, and spicy red onion. The parsley ties it all together, and the green that it adds makes the salad feel even fresher.
You're gonna wanna save this dressing for later because it is delicious. Ever had an antipasto salad? Yep, that's what the dressing tastes like. So tangy that each bite makes you salivate. You can add a little sugar or honey to yours if it's too tangy, but in my house, we love vinegar, so I opted out this time. You can get creative and add other herbs to this, too.
The Recipe - Cold Summer Pasta Salad
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 minutes
8 oz rotini pasta, cooked al dente
4 oz feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
1 zucchini, halved, cut into thin 1/4 wedges
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp oregano
Pinch of salt & pepper
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box and rinse with cold water. Make sure you don't overcook it to avoid a mushy pasta.
In a separate bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together well.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, add the dressing, and gently mix
Refrigerate and serve chilled.
The saltiness of the feta cheese elevates this to the next level. It's perfect to bring along to a day at the beach, or serve at the summer BBQ as a side dish.
If you give it a try, make sure to rate it below and tag me in a picture!