Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Hot, sticky summer days are here – perfect days to think about NOT heating up the house too much and serving something light, healthy, cool and delicious. This Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables is light on the Pasta, heavy on the veggies and extra protein comes from the addition of beans and pine nuts.

Pasta Pesto Salad with Grilled Vegetables
Pasta Pesto Salad with Grilled Vegetables

This Pesto Pasta salad, brimming with still slightly crispy, grilled vegetables, is  perfect for a meal all on its own, and you couldn’t go wrong showing up with this gorgeous dish at a potluck or picnic. Add some bread and a good olive oil for dipping, a glass of wine and you have yourself a party right on the deck or patio…

The grilled vegetables on their own make a lovely side dish for almost any simply grilled chicken or fish, and a much healthier option than fries with a hamburger. My favorite Pesto Recipe is right on this blog, but feel free to use your own or your favorite store-bought.

Grilled Vegetables - used in Pesto Pasta Salad, but every bit on their own as a side dish
Grilled Vegetables – used in Pesto Pasta Salad, but every bit on their own as a side dish

Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 20 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 6 ounces farfalle (1/2 box) cooked al dente
  • 2 small or one large zucchini or summer squash, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 red onion, sliced 1/2″ inch thick
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced into 1/2″ thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, your favorite blend or homemade concoction
  • Salt and pepper
  • one to two teaspoons red wine vinegar, to taste
  • 15 ounces (1 can) of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced or one regular tomato, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup pesto (about 1/4 the recipe – freeze the rest…)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or red wine vinegar

Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente in boiling, salted water. Rinse and drain well.

Preheat grill to medium heat (350 degrees). In a large bowl, toss zucchini or summer squash, bell pepper, onion, Italian seasoning and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Grill vegetables, covered, four to six minutes on each side until lightly charred. Let cool and chop, sprinkle with red vinegar to taste and set aside.

Toss pasta and beans with pesto, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine. Taste the vegetables and make certain they are seasoned to your taste. Add a few more herbs or a bit more vinegar if desired.

Mix gently with vegetables and refrigerate for two hours or so to combine ingredients. Drizzle with lemon or additional red wine vinegar before serving – this recipe needs that touch of acid at the end or it will tend to taste dull.

Garnish with pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil and/or basil. Note: this recipe contains olive oil, which thickens up when cold. If it seems “stiff” add a tablespoon or so of warm water or even another drizzle of olive oil before serving.

from the kitchen of

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Cooking & Kitchen Hacks:

Easily Cut Cherry Tomatoes, Grapes, Olives, Etc. Simply place the lid of a yogurt, sour cream container, etc. upside down (lip up) on the counter, fill with whatever round objects you want to cut, place another lid lip down, press gently but firmly and slice horizontally through the center.

Slice round objects between two lids! Run knife horizontally thru center..
Slice round objects between two lids! Run knife horizontally thru center..

Put Your own Spin on It:

  • Vary the vegetables per season or per what you like – Broccoli would be wonderful here.
  • You could break this down – serve the pasta and pesto with the vegetables on the side.  I actually like the vegetables without the pasta as a side dish “Medley.”
  • Of course, you could certainly play with this anyway the spirit moves you…

Comments and discussion always welcome - tell me what you think.

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