Pasta salads are pretty popular dishes for the summer time. Pasta salads usually consist of a bunch of different types of colorful vegetables and cooked pasta, which are tossed in garlic vinaigrette. But here you will learn how to make a grilled vegetable pasta salad.
The recipe is very easy and is prefect for serving a large crowd. And the best thing about this recipe is that it is very fresh and you can use just any types of vegetables you want.
Difficulty level: Easy
Servings per recipe: 4-6
Time required for preparation: 15-20 minutes
Time required for cooking: 1 hour
1 grill pan or charcoal grill
1 sharp knife
1 large bowl
Pasta tossing spoons
½ lb. of penne pasta, uncooked
1 large head of garlic, halved
2 teaspoons of capers
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 sweet red bell pepper (cored, deseeded and sliced)
3-4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
1 yellow squash, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons of pitted and halved kalamata olives
A bunch of fresh basil leaves
Olive oil, for grilling
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium sized eggplant, halved
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Method of Cooking
1. Place a grill pan on your stove and light up the flame. Set the flame on medium low and wait for the grill pan to heat up. While the grill pan is heating up, put the vegetables in a colander and then transfer the colander to the sink to rinse the vegetables. Once properly rinsed, cut the vegetables to grill them.
For that, take the red bell pepper and cut it in half lengthwise. Remove the core and seeds from the red bell pepper halves and then slice each half in two more slices. Once done, set them aside. Next take the eggplant and cut off its stem. Then slice the eggplant in half lengthwise.
2. Next, take the garlic head and slice it in half horizontally and then drizzle some olive oil over both the halves. Then wrap up the garlic head halves separately in two different aluminum foils and then roast them in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit preheated oven for 40-45 minutes.
While the garlic is roasting, take the yellow squash and the zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise. Finally, take the onion and cut off its tip and base. Then peel off the skin and slice the onion in rings.
3. Once all the vegetables are chopped, drizzle some olive oil on top of each vegetable piece and then place them on the preheated grill pan. Maintain some distance between each vegetable piece as you grill them and you can grill the vegetables in two batches if your grill is not that large.
Grill the vegetables for 45-50 minutes on each side or until they develop nice grilled marks on both sides. Once done, remove the grilled vegetables from the grill and set them aside to cool them down for a few minutes.
4. While the vegetables are cooling down, take a large pot and fill it halfway up with water. Place the pot on the stove and light up the flame to set it on high. Wait for the water to come to a boil and then add a pinch of salt to it. Once the water starts boiling, drop the uncooked pasta into the boiling salted water and boil them for 10-15 minutes or until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, take out the roasted garlic head halves from the oven and uncover them. Let the garlic head halves cool down a bit. Once cooled enough to handle, extract out the garlic cloves from the peels by gently pulling them out or by squeezing the whole thing.
5. Put the roasted garlic cloves in a large bowl and then pour the balsamic vinegar over them. Now mash the garlic cloves with a fork and then add-in the extra virgin olive oil, salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper to the mixture. Stir the mixture with a fork or a wire whisk to combine everything nicely and then set it aside.
Once you are ready with the pasta, turn off the flame and drain away the water by tipping the pasta into a colander. Then immediately transfer the cooked pasta to a pot of chilled water to stop the cooking process.
6. Let the pasta sit in the cold water bath for a few minutes and then drain away the water by tipping the pasta once again into the colander. Let the pasta sit in the colander for a few minutes to let all the dripping water drain away.
Once done, take the grilled vegetables and cut each one of them into small cubes. Transfer all the vegetable cubes into the same bowl with the mashed garlic mixture and then season the vegetables with salt and black pepper.
7. Toss the mixture with pasta tossing spoons and then add-in the drained pasta. Toss the mixture once again to combine everything nicely. Then take the kalamata olives and slice them in half lengthwise to extract out the pits. Once done, add-in the capers and the pitted kalamata olives.
Finally add-in the fresh basil leaves and toss everything once again to mix with the vinaigrette. Once done, cover up the bowl of salad with plastic cling film and pop it into the refrigerator and let the salad sit there for at least 1 hour before serving.
1. Allowing the salad to sit in the refrigerator allows the flavors to intermingle and makes the salad tastier.
2. You can store this salad in the refrigerator for a few days because the taste enhances as the salad gets older.
3. You can also use an outdoor charcoal grill for grilling the vegetables.
4. You can choose any types of fresh vegetables for making this salad.