When there’s a lot of random ingredients in the fridge that need to be used up before they go bad, I like to make a big pasta salad. It normally lasts me a couple of meals and I can eat it as a portable lunch or quick snack. I call this kitchen sink pasta salad because you can add any vegetables, herbs, cheese, or sauce you have on hand.
When deciding what to add, think about the texture and temperature of the components. Something crunchy is always good and something caramelized will add depth of flavor. I recently put together this variation and was surprised at how delicious it was. The mixture of roasted tomatoes with crisp raw celery, fresh pesto, and toasted pine nuts is satisfying and scrumptious.
Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad
1 small zucchini, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 small tomato, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 cup pesto (I used homemade parsley-thyme pesto)
1 1/2 cups cooked pasta (I used orecchiette which was perfect for scooping up the vegetables)
1 small shallot, minced
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons homemade breadcrumbs, optional
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Place the zucchini and tomato on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Toss it together to combine.
- Roast in the oven for 12 minutes until the vegetables are just starting to caramelize and are tender. Remove and set aside to cool a little.
- Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine the pesto with the cooked pasta. Add the shallot, celery, shaved cheese, parsley, and pine nuts. Add the roasted zucchini and tomatoes. Toss everything gently to combine.
- Add the breadcrumbs, if using, and season with salt and black pepper. Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to enjoy.