Healthy Recipe: Summer Pasta Salad

If you are looking for a light, fresh summer salad, look no further. This Summer Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Corn is healthy and very versatile. This recipe can take full advantage of what we likely already have in our pantries. You can also head to the store to add some fresh vegetables of your choosing and throw them on the grill for added flavor. If you don’t have a grill, you can cook this all stovetop in one large skillet.

Keeping in mind the health benefits of this delightful dish, this salad includes various ingredients with cancer fighting properties such as arugula, garlic and zucchini.

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients
4–6 ounces pasta – penne, linguini, bow tie- or try GF pasta or Chickpea Pasta! (grain-free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 fat garlic cloves- rough chopped
2 shallots (or half a red onion) – thinly sliced
1 pound zucchini or summer squash (a mix is nice)
1 ear of corn, or sub red bell pepper
1 lemon, zest and some juice to taste
2–3 cups cooked or canned black beans- or sub any other bean! (1–2 cans)
10 colorful cherry tomatoes, halved
heaping handful arugula (optional)
½ – 1 cup chopped cilantro, Italian parsley or basil
Optional – crumbled feta or goat cheese, pecorino, capers, kalamata olives, pumpkin seeds, chili flakes

Instructions:

  1. Set salted pasta water to boil on the stove and cook pasta according to directions on package- remember to save the pasta water.
  2. If grilling the veggies, pre-heat grill and see notes.
  3. If cooking veggies stove top, slice zucchini into ½ inch thick half-moons. Lay corn down on a cutting board and slice the kernels off.
  4. Heat oil in an extra-large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, shallot and zucchini and sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring often, lowering heat if garlic starts to get too dark. Once the zucchini has a bit of color, stir in the zest from one lemon. Add the corn, and stir and cover the skillet with a lid and turn heat to low, letting it steam until zucchini is tender. Check after a few minutes, give a quick stir, cover again. Once zucchini is tender add the cooked black beans and let them warm through, adding the salt and pepper.
  5. Drain the pasta remembering to SAVE some salted pasta water. Add the pasta to the skillet, along with a few tablespoons of the salted pasta water (3-4). Squeeze with a little lemon juice. Stir, taste and adjust salt and lemon. To add more umami flavor (optional) you could add capers, kalamata olives, (or a few tablespoons olive tapenade), or shaved pecorino. A little anchovy paste is always an option too- stir a little in the pasta water that you add into the skillet. For heat, add chili flakes.
  6. Place this in a big bowl and right before serving toss in arugula and fresh herbs. Top with tomato halves. Sprinkle with feta or goat cheese or keep it vegan and lean.
  7. If serving this chilled, make sure to re-taste for salt before serving. You will probably need to add more. If it tastes bland, it needs salt, and adding it will bring all the other flavors out.

Credit: Feasting at Home