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Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil

Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil.
Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil.  Three of my summer favorites in one salad!

My love for basil is pretty well-documented on the blog, and since I’ve been busy making slow-roasted tomatoes, and since roasted tomatoes and basil are simply meant to be together, I wanted to come up with a dish that combined them. Earlier this year I had kind of a close call with snails devouring my basil, but now I have enough basil that I’ll be freezing more fresh basil soon.

Of course, basil is one of my very favorite herbs, easy to grow from seed, and a perfect compliment to many of the other flavors of summer. Basil is most flavorful when used fresh, or if it’s being included in a dish that is cooked, it should be added at the last minute. There are many types of basil, and a variety of ways it can be used.

I used some frozen basil and some fresh basil in this recipe, simply because I had both, but you could use all one type. I also added some black olives to my pasta salad, but really the combination of grilled zucchini, roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil would make a wonderful pasta salad by itself if you don’t want to add the olives. Here’s what I did.

Cut a large zucchini in slices about 1/2 inch thick
and brush with dressing.
Grill until zucchini is brown and starting to soften,
about 5 minutes per side.

Cut zucchini in pieces about 3/4 in square, put in zip-loc bag with
about 1/4 cup of dressing, and marinate 4-6 hours or more.
About one hour before you plan to serve salad,
cook pasta, rinse, and let drain well.

Chop up 2-3 cups roasted tomatoes while the pasta cooks. If using olives, cut them in half. Combine cooled pasta, zucchini, tomatoes and olives and let salad sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes. At serving time, toss in fresh chopped basil, coarsely grated parmesan, and more dressing as needed, let come to room temperature, and serve. 

Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil
(Makes about 8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

1 box Dreamfields Penne, or your choice of pasta
1 large zucchini, cut in slices 1/2 inch wide, then grilled (yield 2-3 cups grilled zucchini, marinated in dressing)
2-3 cups roasted tomatoes, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
1 can olives, cut in half (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (or less if you don’t have that much)
about 2 cups coarsely grated parmesan cheese
salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 T Johnny’s Great Caesar Garlic Seasoning
(or use garlic powder or ground garlic)
2 T frozen chopped basil, thawed (or use 2 T purchased pesto)
(you can use 1 cup purchased low sugar vinaigrette with 2 T pesto mixed in to replace this dressing if you prefer)

Combine dressing ingredients. Brush zucchini with some of the dressing and grill until zucchini is brown and starting to soften, about 5 minutes per side. Cut zucchini in pieces about 3/4 in square, put in zip-loc bag with about 1/4 cup of dressing, and marinate 4-6 hours or longer.

Cook pasta in large amount of boiling, salted water about 8-10 minutes, or until barely al dente, being sure not to overcook. Rinse pasta with cold water and drain well.

While pasta drains, chop roasted tomatoes into pieces (I cut each tomato half into four pieces.) Cut olives in half, if using. Combined drained, cooled pasta with zucchini and dressing it was marinated in, tomatoes, and olives. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and add more dressing as needed. You will probably not need all the dressing. Let salad chill in refrigerator at least 30-45 minutes, or as much as a few hours.

When ready to serve, let salad come to room temperature. Season salad with salt and fresh ground pepper, stir in chopped fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and more dressing if needed, and serve.

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South Beach Suggestions:
With Dreamfields pasta and a moderate serving size, this salad would be fine for The South Beach Diet, phase two or three. Of course, if you’re not on a diet use any type of pasta you wish. I think this would taste great with any type of grilled chicken or fish, or even grilled sausage.
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17 comments on “Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil”

  1. Basil is the most flavorful when fresh, but it known to possess weight loss properties.

    Gr8 Recipe

  2. Wonderful looking pasta. I must try it, although I’ll have to BUY my tomatoes and basil.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. In my opinion, there can’t be too many ways to use basil.
    I like that idea of grilling and then marinating.

  4. Mae, Sara, and Coffeepot, thanks.

    Sher, I hope you get to try it. (Going back to work is never good.)

    Mindy, love those garden veggies.

    Karina, how great to see you online!

    Biggles, very fun to hear about you cooking those veggies.

    Glenna, I’m a teacher, so I’ve been off work for the summer. I like teaching quite a bit, but it’s still a difficult transition every year to go back to the grind of going to work every day. It seriously cuts into my blogging time!!

  5. Ooooh Kalyn, looks really good and so do the grilled zucchini and the tomatoes. Wow!

    Back to work? Did I miss something?
    I’m curious as someone who had to go back to work for the health insurance…that’s a long story. How about yours?

  6. Hey speaking of grilled veggies, you would have been proud of me last night.
    While sorting through some veggies we had and a load of the same my uncle gave me from his garden, I had a spark of an idea.
    I took a few red bell peppers, cut them lengthwise, so they made nice boats. Took out the seeds and membrane, left ends on. Brushed lightly with extra virgin and grilled them hard over mesquite and hickory.
    With those done, diced small up some garden fresh cucumbers and maters. Pre-tossed them with a nice light vinegarette and installed in to said grilled pepper boats (cooled just a tad). Then used one of those microfine planer rigs to get me some hard type of cheese sprinkle over.
    They were fricken GREAT.
    I didn’t know I had it in me.
    Of course I took no pictures for Meathenge. OH well. I’ll have to do it again.
    Hope you’re well,


  7. What a great post! The roasted sauce sounds divine. This is my kind of food – with rich, smokey flavors. And it would work perfectly with brown rice penne!

  8. Mmmmm. This looks delicious. Love all the inspiration here about using those garden veggies!


  9. I have my cousin here from Texas, so that looks like a good dish for us to make. Hope the return to work was a good one!

  10. Kalyn that looks so good!

  11. Kalyn, that sounds amazing. You’ve made me hungry.

  12. Pam and Queue_t, thanks. It turned out well.

    Erin, the tomatoes are starting to go wild.

    Christine, I think the Roma tomatoes have a lot more substance when they’re roasted, but I bet the flavor is still good with the others. I have more regular tomatoes so I’ll probably try some.

  13. Oh, this looks just wonderful Kalyn! And your roasted tomatoes are positively glowing compared to mine.
    I used regular tomatoes as the organic romas didn’t look very good, and they really didn’t turn out very well. Are romas really the secret to making good slow-roasted tomatoes?

  14. great pics, kalyn! I’m amazed by your homegrown tomatos!

  15. yum, looks great.

    can’t wait to try it out.

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