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This Summer Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Corn is tossed in a flavorful Cilantro Pesto and made with rice noodles– keeping it light, vegan and gluten-free- so deliciously addicting! Video.
Life goes on. It always does. ~Dave Stone
Every summer without fail, right around the 4th of July, I start craving this summer pasta salad. Grilled zucchini, corn, and peppers are tossed with rice noodles and a flavorful vegan Cilantro Pesto that’s doctored with lime juice and jalapeño.
You can always serve crumbled queso on the side. And if you like smoky flavors, a pinch of ground chipotle or smoked paprika is a nice addition. And like most pasta dishes you’ll find here, this corn and zucchini pasta salad is mostly all about the veggies – a healthy pasta salad recipe perfect for outdoor gatherings and potlucks or make it ahead for midweek lunches.
Summer Pasta Salad Video
Summer Pasta Salad Ingredients
When making this Summer Pasta Salad, feel free to add any grillable veggie you like or have on hand. I’ll often pick up what is available at our local farmers’ market; zucchini, corn, and peppers but other veggies like eggplant, asparagus or grilled green beans would work too.
To make this more of a meal- try adding grilled halloumi, or grilled shrimp or grilled tofu!
While the veggies are grilling make the flavorful Cilantro Pesto Sauce.
This version of Cilantro Pesto has pepitas, lime and jalapeño……so tasty!
In this recipe, I use rice noodles, which keep this summer pasta salad light and totally gluten-free. Feel free to swap these out for what you have on hand.
Once the veggies are grilled, toss with the noodles and the cilantro pesto.
Feel free to make this Summer Pasta Salad ahead, and serve at gatherings and potlucks, or make it part of your meal prep for midweek meals.
You can easily add grilled shrimp, chicken or fish to this, to turn it into more of a main course.
Keep it vegan by adding black beans or this Mexican-style Baked Tofu.
Fresh cherry tomatoes give it a delicious summer freshness….so add those at the end.
So easy, and full of summer flavor! I hope you love this Summer Pasta Salad as much as I do!
More recipes you may enjoy
- Cooling Recipes for Hot Summer Days
- 35 Easy Delicious Potluck Ideas
- Our best 35 Grilling Recipes for Summer
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Farmers Market Pasta Salad
- Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Zucchini Pasta
On the home front. This is the first 4th of July in a long time, we didn’t have Dave’s BBQ Chicken. We are in the process of saying goodbye to Brian’s step-dad, Dave, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 9 months ago.
As his body dwindles away, his eyes have become bright and clear with a beautiful and arresting presence. He’s going into this last phase of his life with eyes wide open. I can’t fathom the courage it must take to face your own end.
It’s heart-wrenching to witness, yet at the same time, incredibly poignant and beautiful. Today, as we commiserated about the inevitable finality of it all, he simply said, “Life goes on. It always does.”
Take care and have a nice weekend.
Summer Pasta Salad w/ Grilled Zucchini, Corn and Cilantro Pesto is made with gluten-free rice noodles and loaded up with healthy summer veggies, then tossed in the most flavorful Cilantro Pesto…. deliciously addicting! Vegan and Gluten-free!
- 6 ounces rice noodles
- 2 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeded
- 1/2 an onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
- 1–2 ears of fresh corn ( or use frozen, roasted corn ), shucked
- oil, salt and pepper for veggies
- Garnish with cherry tomatoes, lime wedges, pepitas, cilantro leaves
Vegan Cilantro Pesto:
- 1 large bunch cilantro (thin stems ok)
- 2 fat garlic cloves
- 1–2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno ( optional)
- 1/2 cup olive oil – make sure it is not overly bitter
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (raw)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional- only if you like the smoky flavor)
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Preheat the grill to medium-high, and boil water for the rice noodles.
- Prep the veggies – brush or spray with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Pour boiling water over the rice noodles, ( I put them in a baking dish) let stand for 3 minutes until tender, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Place the veggies on the grill, lower heat to medium, cover, checking the veggies every few minutes or so….turning.
- Make the Cilantro Pesto. Place all the cilantro, garlic and jalapeño in food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely chopped. Add the olive oil, pumpkin seeds, coriander, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and pulse until combined but not too smooth. You should have a fairly loose (runny) pesto -perfect for tossing the salad. Taste, adjust lime to taste. If bitter, add a little sugar.
- Once the veggies are done, cut into bite-sized pieces. Give the pasta a final cool water rinse, loosening it up. Drain and place in a bowl. Add the Cilantro Pesto and the veggies and an additional ½ teaspoon salt, and possibly more to taste. Adjust lime, salt and heat according to your taste preference. I’ll sometimes add a pinch of chipotle pepper, or chili flakes, or even more finely chopped jalapeño to bump up the heat.
- Place on a serving platter or in a bowl, top with halved cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with more pepitas and cilantro leaves and serve with lime wedges.
Feel free to add crumbled cheese- queso fresco is nice.
To make it a meal, top it with grilled halloumi cheese, grilled shrimp, grilled tofu or chicken.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 382
- Sugar: 4.9 g
- Sodium: 243.1 mg
- Fat: 27.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 32.2 g
- Fiber: 2.9 g
- Protein: 4.4 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: summer pasta salad, pasta salad recipes healthy, vegan pasta salad, corn pasta, zucchini pasta, healthy pasta salad recipes