Every time I have a conversation with my mom, it pretty much leads to a recipe inspiration. Since summer is right around the corner, we were discussing our schedule for when she comes to visit us for a few months.
Summertime will be just as busy as if my son was attending school. My time will be spent between kid camps, summer school and one week of a very long awaited vacation. With all that running around, meal prep needs to be fast, convenient and able to be enjoyed cold or at room temperature.
Salads always come to mind and my mom suggested preparing a pasta salad dressed with vinaigrette. Bingo! This will be our official “busy summer” salad. To perfect it, I headed over to Walmart to get my ingredients and began working away in the kitchen.
I decided to use Barilla® Penne as the pasta of choice for this recipe because it is thick, keeps well and is delicious when cooked al dente. Plus, once the various ingredients in this recipe infuse as the pasta refrigerates, that al dente bite of the pasta makes all the difference. Nothing mushy. Everything stays fresh and crispy.
I love it when ideas come together. Thanks to mom and Barilla®, summer meals are saved with this salad that could be enjoyed as a main dish or as a side to protein, a turkey sandwich or a slice of pizza.
Vinaigrette Pasta Salad
For Pasta Salad
8 ounces Barilla® Penne Pasta
2 mini cucumbers, sliced
1/3 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1/3 cup red onion, sliced
1/2 cup fresh French green beans, chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Bring a 3-quart pot of water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook for 11 minutes over medium heat. Strain pasta and transfer to a large salad bowl. Let cool.
Toss in cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, onion, and green beans.
In a medium bowl, combine wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, sugar and oregano. Whisk to combine. Continue whisking and slowly pour in olive oil.
Pour the dressing over the pasta salad. Toss gently, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
When serving, season with salt and pepper and garnish with cotija cheese.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla. The opinions and text are all mine.