I can’t believe that summer is almost over and Labor Day is here already. I know everyone says that it seems like the year has flown by and it’s so cliché but this year really does seem like it went by fast. Probably because this is the first summer I’ve had outside in two years while I was dealing with a broken ankle. YUCK!
Anyway, I really have enjoyed the summer and since Labor Day weekend is upon us, know that most of you will be celebrating the end of it with grilling out and friends so thought I would share a recipe that could go along with all the wonderful festivities.
Grilled Pasta Salad! I know, I know…I said the pasta salad word. Pasta salad is a little like potato slaw and cole slaw when you go to a get together. You eyeball it carefully and then decide “do I really want to go there?” So many people make them and so many of them are awful. I’ve even had a few give me food poisoning. But anyway, this is not one of those pasta salads! It’s yummy, spicy and filled with grilled food. And no mayo to go bad!
It’s also a good way to use up some small amount of dried pasta noodles that you have sitting around. Or at least that’s what I did, hence the odd measurement of 6 oz. of noodles. Use your favorite noodle and of course you can always change-up the flavors by adding the veggies or meat that you have on hand because this recipe is a great way to use some of those abundant summer veggies and herbs. Leave out the meat if you want a vegetarian version.
The salad was good on the day that I made it but when we tried the leftovers the next day, it was so much better. So plan on making this one ahead of time and then pop it into the fridge for an overnighter. Just remember to bring it back to room temp the next day before serving.
Grilled Pasta Salad
6 oz. pasta noodles (your choice)
Olive oil for coating chicken and veggies for grilling
1 1/2 cups broccoli spears, grilled
1/2 quartered baby bella mushrooms, grilled
1 medium zucchini, grilled (sliced 1/2″ long slabs for grilling)
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cubed
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup olives, quartered (your favorite)
4 to 5 pepperoncinis, sliced into rings
3/4 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup olive oil (adjust with more if needed)
Juice from one lemon
Lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
Red pepper flakes to taste
Sea salt and pepper to taste
6 to 8 large Thai basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup Italian basil, chopped
1 large spring rosemary, stem removed
Grill chicken and veggies over medium hot grill. Coat chicken with seasoning and a little olive oil before grilling. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and fresh rosemary. For the veggies, I seasoned them with salt, pepper and rosemary, along with coating with a little olive oil. Remember to rest the chicken before cutting up.
Cook the pasta noodles to al dente, drain and set aside. Chop the grilled chicken and veggies in bite size pieces. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss to coat thoroughly. Handle gently so as not to break up the veggies. Can be served immediately but better if made ahead and served the next day giving the flavors time to meld. Serve at room temperature.
Makes about 6 to 8 cups or around 12 servings.
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