Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

What is it about summer that almost demands you make a pasta salad? Maybe it’s just me, but I love getting creative with pasta salads during the warmer months. And today’s recipe is pretty much the essence of summer, packed with summer veggies and pesto.

I kept the pesto dressing dairy free, but you can always add a bit of parmesan if you’d like. Buying some already prepared pesto at Farmer’s Market is a great shortcut, (although it’s usually not dairy free). Another favorite thing to do is sub in cilantro in place of the basil in the pesto dressing for a different version.

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

This recipe is also great if you happen to have a large supply of zucchini on your hands. You need a pound of zucchini per batch of pasta salad, so it will help you make a slight dent in the summertime supply! Added to the zucchini is more of summer’s abundance: bell peppers, onion, and cherry tomatoes.

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

For more ideas on how to use up lots of zucchini, check out my 5 Ways to Use Up Large Amounts of Zucchini.

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

All the veggies spend some time on the grill which adds another layer of flavor. Then they’re chopped up, and it’s all tossed together into the best veggie packed meal I’ve had in quite a while. And if you’re lucky enough to have some leftovers, they pack really well for lunch the next day!

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

As a side note, if you have lots of cherry tomatoes, grill extra to use in all sorts of things. They’re great in scrambled eggs or omelets, as well as a variation of the classic Caprese Salad.

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

The pesto dressing isn’t a straight pesto because I’ve added some vinegar into the mix. This touch of acidity is critical in a flavorful pasta salad, and it helps to keep the basil from browning immediately.

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

Finally I like to garnish this pasta salad with a few extra pine nuts, which looks great and adds some crunch factor. And a few basil springs doesn’t go amiss either, just a small amount of greenery goes a long way!

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Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad | Get Inspired Everyday!

Summer Grilled Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad


  • Author: Get Inspired Everyday!
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

Grilled Veggies:

  • 2 zucchini, 1 pound
  • 2 red bell peppers, 14 ounces total
  • 1 red onion, 12 ounces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, 12 ounces
  • 1 – 12 ounce package gluten free pasta, I used fusilli

Pesto Dressing:

  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, almonds and walnuts work as well
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast, see notes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup baby spinach, 1 ounce
  • 2 cups basil leaves, 1.5 ounces

To garnish:

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Basil leaves or springs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill over medium high heat until it reaches a temperature of 350º-400ºF.
  2. While the grill heats, prepare the veggies. Start by cutting off both ends from the zucchini, then slice them in half lengthwise. Core the bell peppers, cut them in half, and remove the ribs and seeds. Cut off both ends on the onion, and peel away the tough outer layer. Then cut it into 1/2″ slices from the top to the bottom. Wash the cherry tomatoes and drain them in a colander.
  3. Clean and oil the grill, then place the veggies across the surface. Grill for 4-6 minutes per side, or until crisp tender, for everything except the cherry tomatoes which cook in just 2-3 minutes.
  4. When all the veggies are done, remove them from the grill and set them aside to cool.
  5. Meanwhile cook the pasta to al dente, then drain and thoroughly rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  6. Place all the ingredients for the dressing into a blender and blend until mostly smooth, but with a bit of chunkiness remaining.
  7. When the veggies have cooled enough to work with, cut them into small bite sized pieces. Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes to make bite sized pieces, depending on their size.
  8. Mix together the chopped veggies with the cooked pasta, and toss with the dressing.
  9. Garnish with the pine nuts and basil if desired, and serve. Any leftovers keep well for about 1 day. Gluten free pasta will get harder over time in the refrigerator unlike regular pasta.

Notes

The nutritional yeast adds a slight cheese flavor and some depth, but it’s not absolutely necessary if you can’t find it.

 

28 Comments on “Grilled Summer Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad”

    1. The acidity really helps the flavor of a pasta salad, but it’s also keeps it bright green which is nice because basil browns easily!

  1. This is the perfect salad for summer ! Grilled veggies are naturally sweet and the pesto dressing is creamy delicious yet refreshing at the same time. Thanks for sharing !

  2. What a beautiful pasta salad! I love all the gorgeous grilled veggies, and the delicious basil loaded pesto. Perfect for a summer event!

  3. Oh yum! I love a good pasta salad during the summer especially when it’s loaded with summer produce like yours. It’s so pretty too!

  4. Oh, that fresh pesto dressing is just to die for! I don’t eat pasta often but I do miss it in cold salads in summer. Gluten-free pasta is going on the next shopping list!

  5. What a tempting variation to use cilantro in place of basil; I love how that dressing looks. Yes, pasta salad in summer to use all that good produce; yummy!!

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