Zucchini Pasta Salad with corn, cherry tomatoes and blackbeans. Make this summer pasta salad recipe gluten-free with optional grain-free pasta and keep it vegan or add feta. Very adaptable! Serve it warm for dinner or chilled for midweek lunches.
Let what comes come. Let what goes go. Find out what remains.
How quickly the bounty of summer has come! Farmers markets are brimming with vibrant, colorful produce – so many varieties to choose from, I feel almost giddy with delight! Here’s a simple recipe for Zucchini Pasta Salad that is meant to act as a blueprint for your own creations. Make this for dinner in any number of ways- and serve it up warm as a healthy main, then refrigerate the leftovers for wholesome weekday lunches. Healthy, fast and full of fresh summer produce, keep it vegan or add crumbled feta. Here I’ve added black beans – to boost protein and fiber and turn this into hearty main. And keep in mind, this can be made with grain-free pasta, like I’ve done here, using pasta made with chickpea flour. Together with the beans, it’s double the protein!
Looking for simple ways to eat more plants and feel healthier? This week I’m partnering with USA Pulses & Pulse Canada to help share how adding pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas) to our everyday meals – just a ½ cup, three times a week- can help us on our health journey. Packed with plant protein, fiber and essential nutrients – pulses help us maintain healthy weight and improve overall wellbeing, not to mention they’re delicious and easy to cook! For more info, sign up for the Half-Cup Habit!
What I love about this Zucchini pasta is that takes full advantage of what we already have in our pantries (pasta and beans) and elevates these with the addition of fresh seasonal produce. Economical, vibrant, plant based, healthy and very adaptable. My favorite kind of meal.
So dig through your pantry and select a pasta and a pulse. Black beans are great here, but chickpeas, kidney beans, pintos or heirloom beans would work great too. Even lentils!
When choosing veggies- opt for ones that can be grilled. Zucchini, summer squash, peppers, corn, eggplant, green beans, etc. Choose two different kinds, plus fresh cherry tomatoes.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have a grill- you can cook this all stove top in one large skillet.
For an idea on quantities, I used a total of one pound zucchini and summer squash mixed, plus one ear of corn and a handful of cherry tomatoes. So simple. Swap out a bell pepper for the corn, or eggplant for the zucchini. You get the idea!
You can either grill the veggies- for optimal flavor, or sauté ( which will speed up the cooking process). Either way works and both ways are described in the recipe.
Then add beans- ½ cup per serving. In this case I used 2 cans of organic black beans.
Once the pasta is done, and the veggies are cooked and beans are warmed, toss it all together with greens and herbs and top with fresh summer tomatoes. Sprouts are a nice addition too- I’ve fallen head over heals with the nutty flavor of sunflower sprouts.
So here’s the Summer Zucchini Pasta in a nutshell:
- 6 ounces pasta
- 1-2 cans beans
- 1 ½ pounds grillable veggies ( zucchini, summer squash, peppers, corn)
- shallot, garlic, olive oil, herbs, lemon zest
- Optional additions -fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes, feta, sprouts, pumpkin seeds
Hope you enjoy this simple delicious Zucchini Pasta Salad!
Happy healthy week!
Zucchini Pasta Salad with Corn and Black beans
A farmers market inspired Zucchini Pasta Salad with Corn, tomatoes and Black beans- to act as a blueprint for your own creations. A simple healthy meal that can be served warm as a main, then chilled for weekday lunches. Either use the grill or sauté the veggies for faster prep!
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6-8
- Category: Main, pasta salad, vegan, gluten free
- Method: grill or stove top
- Cuisine: Northwest
- 4-6 ounces pasta – penne, linguini, bow tie- or try GF pasta or Chickpea Pasta! ( grain-free)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 fat garlic cloves- rough chopped
- 2 shallots ( or half a red onion) – thinly sliced
- 1 pound zucchini or summer squash ( a mix is nice)
- 1 ear of corn, or sub red bell pepper
- 1 lemon, zest and some juice to taste
- 2-3 cups cooked or canned black beans- or sub any other bean! (1-2 cans)
- 10 colorful cherry tomatoes, halved
- heaping handful arugula (optional)
- ½ – 1 cup chopped cilantro, Italian parsley or basil
- Optional – crumbled feta or goat cheese, pecorino, capers, kalamata olives, pumpkin seeds, chili flakes
Set salted pasta water to boil on the stove and cook pasta according to directions on package- remember to save the pasta water.
If grilling the veggies, pre-heat grill and see notes.
If cooking veggies stove top, slice zucchini into ½ inch thick half moons. Lay corn down on a cutting board and slice the kernels off.
Heat oil in an extra large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, shallot and zucchini and sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring often, lowering heat if garlic starts to get too dark. Once the zucchini has a bit of color, stir in the zest from one lemon. Add the corn, and stir and cover the skillet with a lid and turn heat to low, letting it steam until zucchini is tender. Check after a few minutes, give a quick stir, cover again. Once zucchini is tender add the cooked black beans and let them warm through, adding the salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta remembering to SAVE some salted pasta water. Add the pasta to the skillet, along with a few tablespoons of the salted pasta water ( 3-4). Squeeze with a little lemon juice. Stir, taste and adjust salt and lemon. To add more umami flavor ( optional) you could add capers, kalamata olives, ( or a few tablespoons olive tapenade), or shaved pecorino. A little anchovy paste is always an option too- stir a little in the pasta water that you add into the skillet. For heat, add chili flakes.
Place this in a big bowl and right before serving toss in arugula and fresh herbs. Top with tomato halves. Sprinkle with feta or goat cheese or keep it vegan and lean.
If serving this chilled, make sure to re-taste for salt before serving. You will probably need to add more. If it tastes bland, it needs salt, and adding it will bring all the other flavors out.
If grilling the zucchini, slice in half or in ½ disks depending on the size. Grill until tender, then cut them smaller before adding to the pasta. If grilling corn, just grill directly on the grate, until a few char marks appear. Lay corn down on a cutting board and slice kernels downward, rotating the cob.
Add to the skillet when you add the beans. ( You will still saute the garlic and shallot, add beans, lemon zest and grilled veggies) Continue with recipe above.
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