Raw Pasta Salad
Summertime evokes so many wonderful feelings of fun, relaxation, and spending time outdoors with loved ones. When the weather warms up, images like corn on the cob, watermelon, cookouts, and pasta salad often come to mind!
Pasta salad is one of those foods that everyone makes and everyone seems to have their own way of preparing it (or so I have observed). My grandmother always puts ham and cheese in her pasta salad. Some people use carrots and celery. Almost everyone uses their favorite kind of Italian dressing.
Pasta salad is a summertime staple because it requires little cooking beyond making the pasta, which allows for a nice reprieve from the summer heat and standing over a stove. I’m all for recipes that don’t require cooking! If you want a few to get you started, check here, here, here and here. Eating raw foods in the summertime is perfect since fresh, local, seasonal produce is in abundance and incredibly flavorful. In Southern California, we are so fortunate to have local produce growing year-round. I never take that for granted!
I’m currently having a giant love affair with zucchini and summer squash. I love it as zoodles (cut into ribbons with a spiralizer) sauteed with marinara or arrabiata sauce. It’s delicious as the main ingredient in my Pad Thai, and I love it in smoothies (for real - peel it and add to your next smoothie. It adds creaminess and veggie nutrition but you can’t taste it!). This love affair sparked my interest in creating a completely raw, veggie-heavy version of traditional pasta salad.
Zucchini and summer squash are mild in flavor, low on the glycemic index (meaning they will not jack up your blood sugar) and easy to incorporate into dishes, both raw and cooked. While often overlooked, they are great sources of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. Combine them with a bunch of other seasonal summer vegetables and you’ve got yourself an amazing lunch, dinner, or side dish.
You can whip up this dish in under 20 minutes and swap out ingredients as you see fit (i.e. based on what’s in your refrigerator already) to create delicious dishes for cookouts, picnics, or to pack in your (or your child’s) lunchbox. I’ve made this version using zoodles but if you don’t have a spiralizer, just chop it up!
Raw Pasta Salad
1 zucchini, diced or zoodled
1 summer squash, diced or zoodled
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large cucumber, diced
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
8-10 basil leaves, minced
1 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ sweet lime (or regular lime)
Pinch of each, S&P
1 tsp rice vinegar
Prepare veggies as desired and place in large bowl.
Add dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake to mix. If you like lots of dressing, I suggest doubling this recipe. I prefer my salads lightly dressed to highlight the veggies, but that’s my personal preference.
Add dressing to veggies and mix to incorporate. Tip: doing this 15-20 minutes before serving allows veggies to absorb all of the wonderful flavors in the dressing.