Summer Pasta Salad w/ Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Come summer time and I spend seriously unhealthy amount of time thinking of salads for meals.…pasta salads in particular.  An eternal favorite in my house,  I make this at least once a week and in  large quantity so I can everyone can have it for lunch the next day.  Believe me, its a real blessing to have a bowl of this deliciousness sitting in the refrigerator, ready to be eaten up when the kitchen feels nothing less than a preheated oven cranked to the highest!

 Bright, colorful, vibrant and fresh, this crowd pleasing dish is a complete meal in itself.  Pasta salads are super duper easy to whip up ( and they look so happy and pretty!).  Really the only time consuming task (if that) is cooking the pasta.  Once its cooked, add any vegetable of your choice…. Broccoli, spinach, zucchini, corn, grilled eggplant, peas, sun dried tomatoes.  Make it rich in protein and  throw in some cooked shredded chicken, cooked prawns, maybe even  some flaked fish, or how about  grilled tofu?  If you want to, go ahead, top it with crumbled feta, grated parmesan, cubed mozzarella, soft goat cheese, toasted almonds or pine nuts. Add  different layers of textures and flavors to it, you can use what you have at home.  When I made this salad, I had half an avocado in my fridge and some garlicky sautéed amaranth, so the salad was served with those….and how good it was!!

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A quick word about the pasta.  When you’re cooking it, remember to salt the boiling water and cook it till its just done, else you’ll end up with a mushy mess!  Once you’ve drained it, rinse it in cold water and toss in some olive oil so the pasta won’t  stick.

This salad has the tangiest  onion slivers in it.  I usually soak one large sliced onion in one part red wine vinegar, one part warm water, half teaspoon salt & sugar for at least 20 mins.  Then I drain it off and am left with this amazing pickled onion.  This goes in salads,  on sandwiches, and is eaten with our sabji…yummmm!

And the dressing is a dream!  Robust garlic flavor, aromatic fresh basil, sharp lemon juice, all gets rounded off nicely with sweet tangy balsamic vinegar!!  Making your own salad dressings is really simple.  Its also far healthier and cheaper than that bottled stuff available in the market.  It offers  you the versatility to change the  taste per your liking, you get to control the sugar and sodium content and  best of all, its made  without any preservatives or additives.


Wholewheat pasta – 300 gms  (cooked)

Bell pepper, red  -1, julienned

Bell pepper, yellow – 1, julienned

Onion – 1, pickled

Cherry tomatoes – 100 gms, cut in half

Handful of parsley

Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette :

Fresh basil leaves – 20 /25

Garlic – 2 cloves

Balsamic vinegar – 1Tbsp

Lemon juice – 2 lemons

Extra virgin Olive oil – 5Tbsp

Salt & pepper to taste

How to

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whiz all the dressing ingredients in a blender.

Toss them well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour for all the flavors to meld together.

Serve cold, at room temperature or if you’re like mister, slightly warmed up! 🙂



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3 Comments on "Summer Pasta Salad w/ Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette"

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kanika kochhar

Hi Nutty buddy!

entertaining young guests at home today …..had time in between and went on your blog…
thanks to you have learnt about couscous and quinoa and am using them in salads .


kanika kochhar

Entertaining young guests for a day spend….had time in between and went to read your blog.
Can identify with one salad which the family loves now and thanks to u we are using couscous and quinoa in our food!
Did the latest salad with couscous ,mint leaves,basil leaves fresh from my balcony!!
with mango,cucumber,capsicum ,tomato relish -loads of it ,with olives , lime juice,balsamic vinaiger and a dash of teriyaki sauce !
Cold from the chiller -a happy treat!

going to try mango yogurt next….