This extremely flavorful, super healthy and vegetable packed pasta salad will blow your taste buds through the roof! Balsamic vinegar mixed with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes turns an ordinary pasta salad, into a crowd-pleaser! Need to bring a side dish to your next party? Looking for a great way to use up your summer bounties? Or are you dreading those back-to-school dinners? Look no further! This caprese style salad is a great side dish and a well balanced lunch or dinner. Stop worrying!! With a 10 minute cook time, you can have this dish on the table in no time!! Lets get cooking!
- 2 cups dry mini penne, cooked according to package
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 large (1 1/2 small) zucchini
- 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (aprox 1 1/2 tbs)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup (about 12-15 leaves) fresh basil, chopped into strips
Step 1: Preparation
As I mentioned, this dish cooks up in 10 minutes so I like to have all my ingredients ready so the dish cooks smoothly. The first thing you will want to start by boiling up some water and cooking the pasta. Surprisingly, boiling water and cooking pasta is the most time consuming part of this entire instructable!
While the water is heating, cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the zucchini into 1/4in slices and cut the slices into quarters. For the spinach, you just want to give it a rough chop. Spinach really cooks down when you heat it.
Step 2: Cook It Up!
Start with a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the oil, onions, garlic and zucchini. Cook the zucchini for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and mix in the spinach and parmesan and stir until the spinach wilts.
Step 3: Finishing Touches
Add the cooked pasta to the pan and stir until evenly coated. Mix in the basil right before serving. This salad is delicious warm or chilled! Enjoy!!