Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been craving tangy dressing a lot lately. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been gravitating towards lighter, springy-er dishes. That could be pregnancy related or could be that I’m just really ready to move on from heavy winter dishes (even if I do live in San Diego). Either way, when a friend on a cooking message board I frequent mentioned a pasta salad including asparagus, I was immediately intrigued. Suddenly vegetable pasta salad combinations were just swirling around in my head and I knew exactly what we were having for dinner.

The plan was for me to make grilled chicken and serve it with a large side of this Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad. The look on Jesse’s face when I told him the plan was kind of comical. He was sure that there should be some other side, or something! Much to his surprise (and my delight!) he loved dinner and he even felt full. It just goes to show that dinner doesn’t have to be heavy to be good. The leftovers also made an awesome lunch!


Here are a few more lighter side dish ideas!

Tangy Mustard Coleslaw
Southwest Pasta Salad
Spicy Cold Noodles

Southwest Pasta Salad

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

This is a recipe that has been talked about a lot on the cooking message board that I frequent. I knew the first time that I heard about it that I would love it, but for one reason or another I kept putting it off. Last week I finally had some fresh tomatoes from the garden (not big juicy red ones but little yellow pear ones) so I decided it was finally time to make this pasta salad. This is definitely a great way to use up some of the tomatoes that most gardens are growing (I’m still in mourning over my tomato plants which have been obliterated by the deer, thank goodness one survived!) I really enjoyed it!

As for changes I only made a few and mostly because I was using what I had on hand. I didn’t have red tomatoes so I cut the yellow pear tomatoes into quarters and used those. I also subbed flat leaf parsley for cilantro because the store didn’t have any and I am growing my own parsley and I omitted the avocado because I’m not a huge fan (though if I were making it for a crowd I would probably use it) Finally, I cut the recipe in half and in doing so I think I screwed up the “sauce” measurements because mine was a little on the dry side. If that happens I recommend just mixing a little more salsa and olive oil together and tossing it in. I also want to mention that this recipe would be perfect for a summer cookout because it does not call for any mayonnaise so it would be OK to sit out.

Cara’s Wagon Wheel Pasta Salad
(Source: Cara’s Cravings)


1lb wagon wheel pasta
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10oz package frozen corn
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced – I used yellow pear tomatoes cut into quarters
8oz shredded Mexican-blend cheese
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 tbsp lime juice – fresh is a must!
1 tbsp cumin
1-2 tsp chili powder – I went on the heavier side of the chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground salt & pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro – flat leaf parsley can be subbed if you don’t have fresh cilantro on hand
1 avocado, diced


Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese. Add the cooled pasta and mix well.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Pour over the pasta salad, add the cilantro, and mix well. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Just before serving, stir in the diced avocado.