Savor a delightful medley of fresh, ripe vegetables with a tangy homemade vinaigrette in this Zucchini Pasta Salad. This is a recipe you will make more than once!
Pasta Salad with Zucchini
I love pasta salads. They are endlessly versatile, able to be crafted with any number of dressings and vegetables. One of my newest favorites is this pasta salad with fresh zucchini.
Zucchini is an excellent addition to pasta salad because it has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. This lets it complement the other ingredients without having to be the star of the show.
Also, the texture with zucchini is up to you. You can cook it to taste, keeping it as crisp as you like. As written, the zucchini is tossed in a hot skillet for just long enough to soften it a tiny bit, leaving each bite nice and crisp still.
Zucchini Pasta Salad
The garlic and red onion in this dish add a subdued bite that balances out the sweet and tangy vinaigrette. And, the shredded parmesan contributes a salty, slightly nutty note to each forkful of this zucchini pasta salad.
Also, it’s just plain fun to eat a bright and colorful meal. The vivid green of the zucchini adds wonderful visual contrast to this dish.
Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Tomatoes
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this recipe:
- penne pasta
- grape tomatoes
- red onion
- garlic cloves
- olive oil and red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- fresh parmesan cheese
To make the zucchini pasta salad, start by salting a large pot of water (1-2 tablespoons) and bring to a boil. Add the penne pasta and cook according to package directions. Then, drain, but do not rinse the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, slice the onions and mince the garlic. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the olive oil and vinegar to cover. Halve the tomatoes, but do not add to the bowl, yet.
Once the pasta has been drained, add it to the mixing bowl and toss well. Warm another tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and saute for about 2 minutes, until barely softened. Remove from the heat. (The zucchini should still be crisp.)
Add the zucchini, tomatoes, salt, and pepper, to the pasta and mix well. Taste the salad and add more salt and pepper to taste. It’s optional, but I recommend adding shredded parmesan cheese when serving!
Vegetables for Pasta Salad
We go through a lot of pasta at my house. All grains have a place in my heart, but pasta might just be my favorite. It’s so versatile, you can use all kinds of vegetables for pasta salad.
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If you know how to cook zucchini noodles, you can have these healthy and delicious Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles ready to eat in just minutes – perfectly seasoned with just butter and herbs or topped with your favorite pasta sauce.
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Zucchini Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces penne pasta
- ½ very small red onion thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch pieces about ¼ cup
- 3 large cloves garlic minced
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 small zucchini cut into ½-inch pieces, about 2 cups
- 2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- grated fresh Parmesan optional
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil along with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, but do not rinse the pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, slice the onions and mince the garlics, then place in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and vinegar to cover the onions. When the pasta has been drained, add it to the mixing bowl and toss well.
- Halve the tomatoes and chop the zucchini. Then, warm a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the zucchini and toss to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes, until barely softened. Remove from the heat. (The zucchini should still be crisp.)
- Add the zucchini and tomatoes to the pasta and mix well. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Taste the salad and add more salt and pepper, as needed. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.