Italian Summer Pasta Salad (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free)

This recipe is a mixture of several pasta salads I grew up eating. It has an Italian flavor profile with lots of basil, tomatoes, Italian sausage and figs, but I add more texture and color with plenty of vegetables, some grilled, some raw. They’re all chopped up to make a fresh salad that’s an amazing dish even without the pasta. But add the pasta (grain-free if you please), and you’ve got a hearty lunch that’s summer in a bowl.

Chris Loves Julia | Italian Summer Pasta Salad

Salad Bowl | White Bowl | Kitchen Hand Towel

To me, the key here is using shell pasta. I’m a big fan of Banza pasta noodles, which are grain-free and high in protein, but you can use any shell pasta you like. I always salt my pasta water before cooking and — secret tip — I also add a splash of either white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, which infuses even more flavor in the pasta.

You probably haven’t seen many pasta salads that feature fresh figs. They can be delicate and harder to find, but I like to go off the traditional script and include them in this salad. Of course you don’t have to use figs, but if you can find them in season, they add a honeyed flavor that is entirely welcome here.

Over on the grill, I add sliced zucchini and mushrooms for that smoky flavor, and then throw on the Italian sausage until it’s cooked through with some nice grill marks. To round out the main ingredients, I chop up some raw yellow bell peppers and sweet Vidalia onion for sweetness and Castelvetrano olives (my favorite) for saltiness.

Chris Loves Julia | I Chris holding a bowl of Italian Summer Pasta Salad

Salad Bowl | Wooden Serving Spoon

For the dressing, the key is to infuse the vinaigrette with the flavors that are already in the dish. So I add the remaining grilled vegetable and sausage juices, lemon juice and zest, olive brine, honey, and dijon mustard to some fruity olive oil for a balanced and delicious vinaigrette.

Chris Loves Julia | I Close-up on Chris holding a bowl of Italian Summer Pasta Salad

It all gets tossed together in a serving bowl, and it’s ready to serve. This pasta salad just feels like a Mediterranean getaway. It’s packed with flavor and color, and it’s a feast for the eyes. Plus, it’s easy to transport for a picnic or BBQ. Let me know how you like this one; I hope it makes it into your repertoire as a summer staple.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top