Grilled Veggies and Pesto Pasta Salad
- 2 ounces fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- salt to taste
- 3 ½ ounces whole-grain pasta
- 1 tablespoon prepared pesto
- ¼ cup sliced zucchini
- ¼ cup sliced eggplant
- ¼ cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped black olives, or to taste
- Blend basil, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic together in a food processor until consistent in color; season with salt. Alternately, put the ingredients into a deep bowl or pot and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; cook the whole-grain penne at a boil until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes; drain and rinse under cold water until cold.
- Heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes on the hot grill pan until tender and a bit charred, about 5 minutes per side.
- Toss the drained penne with 1 tablespoon prepared pesto in a large bowl to coat. Stir zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and olives into the pasta. Refrigerate until serving.
Feel free to substitute pine nuts with any other nut you like. Cashews and walnuts are perfect (and happily they are less expensive than pine nuts!) You can also swap another herb such as parsley or cilantro for the fresh basil.
What others are saying
Jessica Scott says:
This homemade pesto is hands down one of the best I've ever made. Maybe it was the garlic or the Parmesan, I'm not sure, but either way, this pasta was incredible. Grilling the veggies is a must! It gives it that charred, smoky flavor. Wonderful dish and perfect for entertaining guests!
Shannon Whittier says:
I made this with tortellini instead of pasta and adddd some chicken, big winner! I didn't use olives but used diced red pepper instead and loved it. Might try with the olives next time though!