Just because summer is behind us 🙁 doesn’t means that we can’t enjoy our colorful veggies and greens.Capture the flavors of summer in this quick and easy to put together salad that is loaded with great flavors and texture. This recipe is adapted from Cheesecake Factory famous dish – “Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta – a great pallet of flavors”. What I like most about this dish is that it is packed with variety of vegetables and is D- licious and super healthy. Above all, it’s a great hit among kids and appeals to adults as well.
RECIPE DETAIL – I have used fusilli or rotini pasta for this recipe but feel free to substitute it with your favorite one. Grilling colorful veggies makes a huge difference and is worth the extra effort. Flavors of grilled veggies add color and crunch to this salad and they blends perfectly with pasta. This recipe uses garlic salt, but if you don’t have garlic salt – no worries, just grate 2 small cloves of garlic, mix it in 2 teaspoon of olive oil, and rub it over the veggies. To bring out the wonderful nutty flavor, pinenuts are toasted and added to the salad. Pinenuts can be substituted with toasted walnuts or almonds.
I have used store bought olives and artichoke hearts – drain the liquid and rinse the artichoke hearts and olives before adding them to the salad. Don’t like artichokes, you can skip that and adjust the seasoning in the salad. Didn’t had any eggplant on hand so I have skipped that.
Try this salad today for lunch or dinner, sit back and indulge in the rich flavors ♥ and let the salad bowl do the talking. 🙂
Veggie Pasta Salad
- 1LB OR 16 OZ Fusilli OR Rotini Pasta Or any other pasta
- 1 small Red Capsicum
- 1 small Orange OR Green Capsicum
- 1 big Large onion
- 6-7 florets Broccoli
- 1 cup Diced eggplant (optional)
- 1/4 cup Sundried tomatoes (optional)
- 1 cup Store bought Artichoke hearts (optional)
- 1 cup Pinenuts OR Walnuts
- 1/2 cup Sliced Green and black Olives
- 1/4 + 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Salt or freshly crushed garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon Freshly ground Black peppercorns
- 1/2 tablespoon Crushed red chili flakes
- Salt to taste
- 4-5 leaves of Fresh Basil, chopped
- Assemble: all the ingredients.
- Wash, clean and dice veggies. Preheat oven to 500 degree F (260 degree C).
- Transfer them to a bowl and add 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of garlic salt or crushed garlic.
- Using a spoon gently toss the veggies.
- Veggies should be coated in olive oil.
- Grease a baking tray and spread the veggies in a single layer.
- Place them in the hot oven and broil them for 25-30 minutes or until crisp. Depending on the oven heat they may become crisp faster.
- Keep a close eye on the pinenuts; they will be done in few seconds. Or choose to toss them over the stove in a pan.
- In the meanwhile boil pasta according to the package instructions.
- Do not overcook the pasta.
- Drain the boiled pasta and rinse under cold water to remove starch. Set it aside.
- When the veggies are crisp and brown around the edges, take them out of the oven and start assembling the recipe.
- Transfer boiled pasta to a bowl.
- Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, toasted pinenuts...
- Sliced olives....
- Crushed black peppercorns....
- Add grilled veggies, red chili flakes and give it a good toss. REMEMBER - before adding salt taste the pasta because salt was already added to the veggies, so add in moderation. Finally stir in artichokes, fresh basil leaves and fold the salad gently.
- Some of the artichoke outer leaves will break off during mixing- it's just fine. Give the salad bowl a good toss.
- Enjoy it hot or cold.