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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!


GRILLED VEGETABLE PASTA SALAD

Ingredients:

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.)

Directions:

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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