Please welcome Hanna from Honey & Huckleberries as my guest poster today sharing her favorite picnic supper.
Summer has come, with all it’s sunshine, long days, and heat. Here in the Kootenays, summer days are spent out at the lake, playing by water that some would say is freezing but we prefer to call “refreshing”.
My girls still nap in the afternoon, so in order to get in enough beach time to make the effort of getting all of us and all our gear out the door, it’s nice to have a picnic supper. I prefer to make something that is easy to whip up while they nap so that we can have everything ready to go when they wake up.
This roasted veggie pasta salad is perfect. It’s fairly quick to throw together but yummy enough to feel special. It doesn’t contain any meat or mayo so it’s safe to bring to the beach even without a cooler.
You can make it with a variety of summer vegetables, depending on what you can find at the market or in your garden, and you can even add in some meat if you have a carnivore in the family.
I would like to say that the meal was the star of our picnic, but in reality the girls were so excited by the ground squirrel that kept running up to our table that they could barely eat. Ah well, it makes great leftovers. (Also, did you know that you can strap booster seats sideways onto picnic tables? Very handy!)
|Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette|| |
- 1 lb fusilli (I use Tinkyada’s brown rice spirals)
- 2 sweet bell peppers
- 2 zucchini (about 6 inches long)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup fresh basil
- ½ cup feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed (I use a microplane)
- Coarse Salt
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt and Pepper
- Cook pasta according to the package’s directions. When done, drain and rinse under cold water.
- To make the vinaigrette, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and crushed garlic in a small bowl. Whisk thoroughly and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Next we need to grill the veggies. The bell peppers take the longest, just put them straight on the grill over high heat and lightly char all the sides. Once they are fairly black all over, put them aside and pull the stems out to help them cool faster. When they are cool enough to handle, the skins should slip off easily. Scrape out the seeds and cut them into 1 inch chunks (As a side note, I use my kitchen shears for all the cooked vegetables in this recipe. It saves me from a messy cutting board, and makes the slippery veggies easier to manage).
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into ¼ inch slices. Rub them with the olive oil and crushed garlic and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Grill them over medium/high heat until they have nice grill marks and are soft. Cut into 1 inch chunks.
- The cherry tomatoes are easiest to manage on bamboo skewers, they cook fairly quickly over medium/high heat. Take them off once they start getting some black spots and look squishy. Cut tomatoes in half.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta and roasted veggies. Add the basil, either snipping or tearing it into small pieces, and crumble in the feta. Pour the vinaigrette over and give it all a good toss. Have a taste and add more salt or pepper if you want to.
- Serve warm or cold.
- Instead of the zucchini, you can use any other summer squash or some eggplant. Grill in the same way with the garlic and olive oil.
-You can substitute 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and the zest of one lemon for the balsamic vinegar.
-This is fantastic with pieces grilled chicken or sausage.
-The basil can be swapped out for fresh oregano.
-Pine nuts, minced shallots, or kalamata olives go great in here.