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Delightful Vegetable Pasta Salad

Delightful Vegetable Pasta Salad

Courtesy of Rita DeMontis, Toronto Sun
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July 12, 2011

TORONTO - I must thank my awesome friends in Markham, Ont. -- Lilie Margaret and her daughter, Mia -- for this absolutely delightful summer salad. Lilie is a dynamo in the healthy eating department and I couldn't get enough of this particular dish during a recent visit.

I use regular white pasta while Lilie opts for whole wheat -- you'll thank her for this treat!



1 red onion sliced in to 1/4-inch (5mm) rounds

2 zucchini, cut lengthwise into thick strips

8 stalks asparagus, ends trimmed

2 cups (500ml) cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

1 Tbsp. (15ml) olive oil

1 tsp. (5ml) dried thyme

Salt/pepper to taste

1 12 oz. (340ml) jar marinated artichokes, drained and roughly chopped

1 12-oz (240ml) jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup (250ml) cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup (50ml) sliced pimiento-stuffed olives or black olives

1/4 cup (50ml) olive oil

1/4 cup (50ml) balsamic vinegar (or taste)

1/3 cup (75ml) chopped fresh parsley

2-3 torn basil leaves

1 pkg. (500g) rotini pasta

Grated Parmesan cheese (optional.)


Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Toss red onion, zucchini, asparagus and cremini mushrooms in olive oil, salt and pepper and dried thyme. Arrange in single file on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Grill in oven, turning once, until vegetables are grilled tender-crisp, 8-10 minutes. (Alternatively, use grill of barbecue to achieve same results.)

Remove and cool until you can safely touch. Roughly chop onions, zucchini and asparagus. Set vegetables aside.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water cook pasta until al dente. Rinse and drain. In a large bowl, toss pasta with grilled vegetables, marinated vegetables, garlic, cherry tomatoes and olives. Drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley and basil. Adjust seasoning and add more olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar. Can be served immediately or refrigerate for several hour. Serve with cheese on side.

Serves 6.

NOTE: The beauty of this pasta dish is you can add any of your favourite vegetables including broccoli, eggplant, or toss with baby bocconcini.

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