A summery pasta salad that features roasted zucchini with a zippy lemon and red wine dressing.
For pasta salad:
- 1/2 small (or 1/4 large) red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1.5 pounds zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
- olive oil, for roasting
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 12 ounces medium-sized dried pasta (shells, rotini, farfalle, etc.)
- 8 ounces small fresh mozzarella balls (“pearls”) (can substitute larger-sized balls, either cut in half or quarters)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Set a large stock pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta.
- Meanwhile, begin prepping the vegetables: Thinly slice the onion. If desired, place in cold water to reduce the sharp flavor. Chop the parsley, set aside.
- Prep the zucchini: Cut the zucchini into quarters lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces (see note 1). Place the zucchini on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the zucchini with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread the zucchini out evenly on the baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Roast the zucchini: Once the oven is preheated, bake the zucchini for 20 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and flip the zucchini pieces. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is deep golden brown. Let the zucchini cool down on the tray for a few minutes.
- Make the dressing: while the zucchini is in the oven, combine all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk with a fork, set aside.
- Cook the pasta: Once the pasta water is boiling, add a few large pinches of salt to the water (see note 2). Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. When cooked, drain and rinse under cold water for a few seconds to cool down the pasta, and drain again very well.
- Assemble the salad: Add the pasta to a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the pasta and toss to coat. Add the onion, parsley, zucchini and mozzarella balls and toss again gently to evenly coat the ingredients in the dressing. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately or store in the fridge, covered, and serve the next day (tastes even better!).
If the zucchini is large, you may need to cut some of the bigger chunks in half again to end up with evenly sized pieces.
Make sure to add a generous amount of salt to the pasta water, this is the only way to season the pasta itself and will really enhance the flavor of the overall salad.
Keywords: zucchini pasta salad, pasta salad, roasted zucchini, side dish, summer side dish, summer sides