Pasta is a go to comfort food for most of us in the fall and winter. Pasta often makes for a heavy meal, which is rarely appealing in the heat of summer; however, with the right preparation, pasta can be light enough for summer eating. In order to create the perfect summer meal, the dish needs to be quick, easy, require little to no cooking, allow you to use fresh ingredients, and pair well with other summer foods. With these requirements in mind, check out these four delicious summer pastas.
Southwest Pasta Salad
This is not your ordinary pasta salad. Bring this salad along to your next summer barbecue, or add your favorite meat right off the grill to turn this salad into an easy summer meal.
What You Need
1 box bowtie pasta (prepared according to package directions)
1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can sweet corn (drained)
1 cup shredded cheese
1 bottle of Italian salad dressing
2 fresh tomatoes
taco seasoning (optional)
1 avocado (optional)
sliced olives (optional)
grilled meat strips (optional)
Combine beans, corn, cheese, and dressing in large bowl. Add cooked pasta and mix together. Add taco seasoning if desired. Chill to serve as salad, or heat through to serve as a meal. Top with tomatoes, avocado, olives, and grilled meat (as desired) when ready to serve.
Preparation Tip: For the best flavor, combine pasta, salad dressing, and taco seasoning in ziploc bag. Refrigerate overnight. Add all other ingredients when ready to serve.
Strawberry Kiwi Lasagna
This fresh fruit lasagna can be served at nearly any summer occasion! You can serve this simple and delicious dish at breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, a picnic, or a barbecue.
What You Need
12 lasagna noodles (cooked & cooled)
1 large carton of vanilla yogurt*
1 small carton of ricotta cheese
Fresh strawberries* (sliced)
Fresh kiwis* (sliced)
Mint leaves (optional)
Place 3 lasagna noodles in the bottom of 9x13 glass pan. Cover with vanilla yogurt and spread to all edges. Top yogurt with sliced strawberries. Repeat noodle layer. Cover with ricotta cheese. Follow with sliced kiwi. Repeat noodle layer. Follow with vanilla yogurt and sliced strawberries. Repeat noodle layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with additional sliced strawberries and mint leaves to garnish (if desired).
*Feel free to experiment with other fresh fruits and even yogurt flavors. The possibilities for this lasagna are nearly endless.
Preparation Tip: If you want to reduce the cost of ingredients, purchase cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese. You can use your blender to get a ricotta like consistency.
Quick & Easy Pesto Pasta
Any grilled meat or seafood will pair well with this pasta; however, if you are looking for a quick and easy summer dinner, this is also delicious without meat.
What You Need
1 package of pasta any variety (cooked & drained)
1 jar of prepared pesto sauce* (find it near the spaghetti sauce)
sliced fresh tomatoes (any variety)
grilled meat or seafood (optional)
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Mix warm pasta with pesto sauce and sliced tomatoes. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. If desired, top with grilled meat or seafood.
*You can also use fresh avocado in place of the prepared pesto sauce. Simply mash up soft avocado and mix it with the warm pasta and tomatoes.
Preparation Tip: When preparing any pasta, keep all stray pieces out of the garbage disposal in your sink. As explained by the pros, pasta can expand and cause problems for your pipes. So always toss pasta in the trash instead!
Raspberry Ravioli Salad
Cheese and fruit provide a classic flavor pairing that is simple and yet so delicious. Try serving this salad at any summer occasion. If you are obsessed with fresh raspberries, you may want to keep this salad home for yourself.
What You Need
1 package of frozen cheese filled ravioli
fresh raspberries (or thawed from frozen)
1 bottle of raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing
Prepared pasta according to package directions. Place ravioli pieces in single layer on wax paper to cool. Sprinkle with cinnamon while still warm. Once cooled completely, gently mix pasta in bowl with salad dressing. Refrigerate for two to three hours. Gently mix in raspberries when ready to serve.
Preparation Tip: Don’t add the raspberries to the salad bowl. Instead, serve this salad on individual plates and place raspberries on top of the salad on each plate when ready to serve.
XO Whitney Hollingshead