Keep cool this summer with a delicious pasta salad tossed with all the fresh produce of the season. A tasty combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and peppers, a lean protein and whole grain pasta help make this an easy, healthy & delicious lunch or dinner.
Most people think of pasta as a warm comfort food that is great to have in the winter but if they haven’t tried a cold pasta salad in the summer they are missing something sensational!
Besides being cold, which is a good thing when the thermometer reaches 95 degrees, this salad has plenty of fresh vegetables and lean protein which makes it the perfect “get in bikini shape” lunch or dinner. I mean what could be better than vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh out of the garden bell peppers and cucumbers, basil from my herb garden that, by the way, is going bananas and zucchini. I wish I still had some arugula but it kinda died in the heat. I do have some butter crunch lettuce that is still surviving but the arugula seems to go better in this salad.
I used a whole wheat pasta this time around, packing the meal with additional protein, fiber, B vitamins and antioxidants. Studies have shown that a diet rich in whole grains helps reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. I’ve also used quinoa pasta on occasion, which provides additional protein, and rice pasta is also an option. It never fails to come out delicious whatever grain you decide to use.
I think one of the things I like most about this salad is that all the veggies and pasta get coated with a deliciously cheesy and seasoned olive oil that keeps it light but oh so flavorful. And it’s great for picnics, potluck dinners or just a simple lunch or dinner at home.
If you are on a big salad kick (like me) or it’s too hot to cook, don’t stop with this salad, try some of our other healthy options like our Hearty Quinoa Salad or Mandarin Chicken Salad. You’ll still be enjoying a healthy, tasty and light dinner that is perfect for the summer heat. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite go-to summer meal?