This summer has been all about the pasta salad for me – and I have my reasons. It’s the perfect vehicle for all of summer’s perfect produce, and you can pack a lot of veggies into each serving (along with perfectly carb-y pasta!). It also is the ideal make-ahead, cold food that can serve as a delightful side to a summer meal or as a grab and go lunch for the work-week (I also ate it for breakfast once over the weekend, and it was excellent). Finally, all of the veggies can be roasted on a big sheet pan, which means minimal cooking and prep-work with ultimate, delicious results.
In this version, I used a combination of fresh tomatoes along with roasted corn, zucchini, and eggplant. Your veggie add-ins can be any of your favorite combinations – red peppers, red onions, cucumbers, olives – all of these can be swapped in or added to this base! I also used feta cheese (which is a favorite in our house), but this would also work really well with cubed mozzarella or fresh mozzarella balls. Finally, I used my pasta of choice, cavatappi, but feel free to use your favorite shape – penne, fusilli, or farfalle would all work great, and even your classic elbow macaroni will work here as well! Lastly, I used some store-bought Italian dressing (I used the one from Trader Joe’s), but go for your favorite brand of Italian dressing that you like.
Recipe down below, photo up top! This makes enough for 4-6 big servings of pasta salad, so it should be enough for a side at a party!
Pasta Salad with Roasted Summer Veggies
- ½ pound (dry) cavatappi pasta
- Sub for any of your favorite pasta shapes!
- 2 zucchinis, diced
- 2 small eggplant, diced
- 3-4 ears of sweet corn
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ¾ cup Italian salad dressing
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Wash and dry the zucchini and eggplant, and chop into large (about 1 inch) dice. Drizzle the diced vegetables with the olive oil, and toss to coat. Remove the husks from the sweet corn, and lightly coat with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Place the chopped zucchini, eggplant, and the corn cobs onto a sheet tray, and place the sheet tray in the oven to bake at 375F for 1 hour. After the veggies are cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before handling.
- Meanwhile, place a big pot of water on the stove and season it with 2 tbsp salt. Bring the pot of water up to a boil, and add the dry cavatappi noodles. Cook until al-dente, then drain in the sink. Cool the pasta off by running cold water over the noodles to prevent them from overcooking.
- When ready to assemble, place the cooked and cooled pasta into a large bowl. Add the cooked zucchini and eggplant, and the diced tomatoes. Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs and add those to the bowl with the pasta and veggies. Crumble the feta cheese into the bowl, and add the Italian dressing. Mix to thoroughly combine.
- Serve immediately, or allow to age in the fridge for up to 12 hours before serving. I find that allowing the pasta salad to sit before serving allows the dressing to soak into all of the pasta and veggies, making the flavor that much better!
- Grab a big plate and enjoy!