It’s that time of year, when the garden’s abundance is at its pinnacle and the summer heat is beyond The Goddess’s tolerance. But, you still want to eat. This is the perfect meal to be the heat and use some of those veggies—cucumbers, radishes, onions, zucchini, corn and of course, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! I adore garden tomatoes. They are without equal. At this time of year, The Goddess lives on tomato sandwiches. She doesn’t need the bacon or the lettuce, just good tomatoes, good toasted bread, a little mayo and salt and pepper. That’s it. She’s in heaven; she has reached the third level of happiness and is positively radiant. Or she’s just gone ’round the bend and needs professional help!
Anyway, this is a wonderful side salad for a BBQ or make it a main course. When the weather is so searingly hot and steamy, and movement becomes a burden and the idea of heating up the kitchen makes you want to gouge out you eyes, a cold dinner is just the thing. This is the perfect solution. You can make this a complete meal, by adding some cooked shrimp, crabmeat, cooked chicken or canned beans; now you’re good to go.
I haven’t given you many pictures, because you don’t need them. You’re just going to dice everything into more or less the same sized pieces, about the size of a green pea (which you can add, if you’re feeling like it). These amounts are suggestions. Use whatever comes out of your garden or looks good at the market.
Summer Gazpacho Pasta Salad
- 1-2 cups uncooked small pasta, cooked until just tender
- 2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 English cucumber, diced (about 1 cup)
- 5 radishes, diced
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 2 ears of corn, cooked and kernels removed (about 1-2 cups)
- 3 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup diced red onion or 5 scallions including some of the green
- 1/3 cup diced roasted red peppers (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (optional)
- 1/2 cup diced pepper Jack cheese or crumbled feta cheese
- 2-4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon very finely shredded orange zest (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or hot pepper sauce, to taste
- 1/3-1/2 cup good flavored olive oil
Cook the pasta, in boiling water, until tender but still firm. Drain well; Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the diced veggies and cheese. Add the pasta, sprinkle generously with salt.
Combine the vinaigrette ingredients, except the oil. Slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture, whisking constantly. This will not be particularly thick. Pour over the salad; toss until well combined. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
NOTE: Chilling will affect the flavor of the tomatoes. So if you wish, prepare the salad, adding half the tomatoes. Then, just before serving add the remaining tomatoes. Stir and serve. You may add cooked shredded chicken to this, or well-drained black beans, if you wish. The ingredients can be altered to suit your taste and what you have on hand. You may add zucchini, diced cooked green beans, frozen or cooked peas, etc. I have even used diced dill pickles. Use gluten-free pasta, if gluten is an issue, or simply omit it and add 1-2 cups garbanzo or black beans.
Summer Gazpacho Pasta Salad Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
I usually don’t use the roasted peppers, as they have a tendency to run all over the other flavors, but if you love them, use them. Though not at all traditional, I have added minced, fresh mint, in combination with cilantro. When I use basil, I like to add good-quality sliced black olives. Okay, the basil-black olive option isn’t really in the gazpacho realm, but they’re good together and we’re being creative, aren’t we? With this combination, I always use the orange zest and for cheese, diced fresh mozzarella are great additions. You still have time to make this for dinner, if I post this now…go!