How has your summer been treating you? It has been hot & humid in Florida. Surprise. Surprise. Did you see Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show when they were in Orlando? They had me rolling on the floor when they where talking about the humidity. I can totally relate!
Back to summer fun, we have really been enjoying summer grill outs! Grilling dinner for two so I don’t head up the house with the oven on. Or making it a party with friends over for long leisurely dinner on the weekend. Grill going, cocktails flowing and great friends! That sounds like a great evening to me!
For summer grill outs or potlucks, side dishes are a must and pasta salad is a classic favorite. This pasta salad makes a great side dish to share. It is packed with veggies, does not contain mayonnaise so it will withstand the temperatures outside and can be made the day of or, even better, the night before so the pasta and veggies marinate and soak up all the dressing. For us this pasta salad originally started as a clean out the veggie drawer but today I share it with some of our favorite vegetables. You really can include any veggie you want, bell peppers, onions, grilled vegetables, I just suggest that you cut them to be be similar size to the pasta. When it comes to the pasta, short pasta is the way to go, but you can chose any short pasta you and your family enjoy. Our favorite is bow tie because when the pasta marinates in the dressing it has extra nooks and crannies to soak up all the vinaigrette.
Some may ask about why we blanch some of the veggies, a couple of reasons, slightly cooking the asparagus is a good thing for this recipe and for the carrots, when they are slightly tender they are able to soak up more of the vinaigrette. To make it easy, because the last thing you want is a million pots and pans to clean, we toss the veggies in while the pasta is cooking. One pot of boiling water and no fuss.
The margarita vinaigrette originally happened out of chance, and now is the only dressing we use for this pasta salad. We wanted a light and refreshing dressing and noticed that the margarita mix was open, so why not!?!
Let’s get cooking!!!
This is the 3rd recipe checked off the 2014 Recipe Bucket List! Only 32 more to go.
- 1 pound Short Pasta (Bowtie is my favorite)
- 2 cups Sliced (length wise) Baby Carrots (about half a bag)
- 1 pound Asparagus, cut in to 1" pieces
- 2 medium Cucumbers, chopped (about 2 heaping cups)
- 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, each cut in half
- 2-3 Green Onions, diced
- ½ cup Margarita Mix
- 2 Tbls White Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1.5 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1.5 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- Add the dried pasta into a pot of salted, boiling water. Cook according to the suggested time on the package (typically around 11 minutes)
- When there is about 4 minutes left for the pasta, add the carrrots to the water and give it a stir.
- When there is about 2 minutes left for the pasta, add the asparagus to the water and give it a stir.
- Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain the pasta and vegetables, then rinse with cool water.
- Pour the pasta, carrots and asparagus into a large bowl
- Add the cucumber, tomatoes and green onions into the bowl with pasta
- To make the dressing: in a medium bowl add the margarita mix, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and whisk it together. While whisking, slowly drizzle the olive oil until well combined.
- Add the dressing to the pasta salad and toss so that everything is coated evenly.
Please also don't be afraid to change up the vegetables to ones you prefer or have in your fridge. Other great options include bell peppers, onions, grilled vegetables, artichoke hearts, etc.