Italian Summer Pasta Salad

 Italian Summer Pasta Salad1

 

After radio silence for 3 weeks, I’m back. Again. Can’t say for how long but I am here. So how are things guys? Here, monsoon has almost arrived and summer is officially over (for good!). But here I am, with a huge backlog of summer recipes. What am I to do when all these days I have been cooking all things “summery” regularly but not getting time to post them. Let’s just say that it is still summer somewhere in the world, right?! 😉

I love anything and everything Italian so when I came across this pretty looking salad on Sommer’s amazing blog I knew I had to get to it pronto. It is so good and SO refreshing! Zests of orange and lemon, al dente pasta, orange chunks, tiny tomatoes and torn basil all tied together with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to love? Must try, whatever time of year it is for you.

I hope you’re having an awesome weekend.
Stay cozy, it’s gonna be a rainy one! xx

 

Italian Summer Pasta Salad3

 

Italian Summer Pasta Salad

Recipe scaled down & adapted from A Spicy Perspective

Yield: 2-3 servings | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat Farfalle pasta
  • 1 naval orange, zest and orange segments
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup scallions, cut into 1 inch segments
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, zest the orange and lemon. Place the zest and the juice of lemon in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk. Peel the orange, gently break the segments apart and seed them. Place them in the bowl.
  3. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Then pour the drained pasta over the tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Add the scallions and basil leaves to the bowl and toss. Salt and pepper generously, about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: I didn’t have scallions at hand so I had to skip them but they are highly recommended as it’d add some crunch & make the dish all the more flavorsome. 🙂

 

Italian Summer Pasta Salad2

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Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnuts Warm Salad

Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnuts Warm Salad1

 

Just popping in to say Hi as it’s been two weeks since we last talked! I am feeling unbelievably lazy and  don’t want to write much so I’ll leave you guys with this quick recipe. I hope you guys’ll understand.

Salads are usually underrated but this one right here is a total stunner. Perfect for spring! It was my first time using fennel in my home kitchen so I was quite excited in terms of what to make with it. I’m a salad person so that is what I wanted to experiment first. The combination of leek, fennel, apple and walnuts works so beautifully and sounds quite exotic but mostly they are all simple, earthy ingredients bound together by a simple dressing. I can’t wait to turn these ingredients in to a soup once the rainy days arrive in full swing(which I hope will be soon!).

Enjoy!
xx

 

Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnuts Warm Salad2

 

Leeks, Fennel, Apple + Walnut Warm Salad

Serves: as a side for 2/a hearty meal for 1 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 apple, cored & sliced (peeling is optional, I didn’t)
  • 1 + 1 tsp lemon juice, divided
  • 10-12 walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 fennel, small bulb, sliced
  • 3-4 lettuce leaves
Dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

*Preparing Leek : Cut the ends off the leek and discard. Quarter the leek lengthwise, wash under running water to remove all the grit and cut them into slices.
*Preparing Fennel : Check this easy tutorial on The Kitchn

  1. Wash, core and slice an apple. Toss with 1 tsp of lemon juice to prevent discoloration and set aside.
  2. In a fry pan, add the walnuts and toast them on a medium-low heat until fragrant. Set aside.
  3. In the same fry pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic, leeks and thyme leaves to the pan and sauté for about 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add sliced fennel, cook for another minute or so and remove it from the heat. Immediately stir in sliced apples and splash remaining 1 tsp lemon juice.
  4. In a small jar, add all the ingredients for the salad dressing. Close the lid tightly and shake the jar vigorously until completely combined. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
  5. In a serving plate, make a bed of lettuce leaves and top with salad. Garnish with toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.

Skinny Zesty Salad

Skinny Zesty Sala1

 

After hogging lots and lots of sweets and fried stuff during 5 days of festivities in the past week, believe it or not, but my digestive system needed a break. So I am doing a cleanse/detox for few days.

I made this skinny salad for lunch one day and have fallen in love with it since then. It is so versatile, protein-packed and healthy even for people with diet restrictions. Yes! It is suitable for all the vegetarians and vegans out there! A complete meal in itself.

Add any or all of the ingredients mentioned below or whatever you have in your refrigerator. Don’t like uncooked Paneer/tofu? Don’t worry! You can grill it with a bit of olive oil and some seasoning before adding it to your salad or skip it. I once made this with just apple, pear, pomegranate and it was still lip-smacking!

So do your body a favor, give yourself a break from cooking and make this hearty salad! 🙂

Skinny Zesty Sala2

Skinny Zesty Salad

Serves: 2 as a side and 1 as a main-course

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 200 gm Paneer/extra-firm tofu, cut into 2 inch-long thin strips
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped into thin strips
  • 1 small yellow zucchini, cut into semicircles
  • 1 small apple, thin slices
  • 4 Tbsp black olives
  • Bunch of lettuce
  • few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped

For dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lemon, or more to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a small pan on stove and add 1/2 Tbsp oil to it. Add garlic and broccoli florets. Stir fry till cooked, approximately for 4-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for dressing.
  3. In a medium bowl, add stir-fried garlic and broccoli florets. To this, add prepared paneer/tofu, bell pepper, zucchini, apple and black olives. Pour dressing over it and toss nicely.
  4. In a salad serving bowl, arrange lettuce at the bottom. Add salad on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately*.

*If serving later, refrigerate the salad and add apple just before serving.

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Salad1

 

It’s my Mother’s Birthday today! She is the most special woman in my life. She is my first best friend and I have had heaps of special moments with her. She handed down so many traits of hers to me… We both love bags, shoes, clothes and FOOD! She is such an awesome cook!

As already confessed in my intro page, I never learnt to cook before I got married and being such a great cook that she is, my mom was quite concerned about that part. She sincerely wrote down all her recipes in a diary for my convenience and gifted it to me on my D-day. That is my most prized possession and a lovely gesture on my mom’s part! I should soon get down to posting few of her special recipes!

Among many things my mother and I share, we both LOVE pasta! So aptly, I am posting a very simple pasta salad which is very refreshing and flavorful. I’m sure my mom would have enjoyed this thoroughly if I could make this for her at home for tonight’s celebration. But we are distanced by miles hence a virtual birthday dish will have to suffice! 😦

 

Caprese Salad2

 

I love Caprese in any and every form!

You must remember I once created this unusual ice-cream with it and these skewers served with pesto!

This time I brought together 2 of my favorites and created this dee-lish caprese pasta salad. Of course with a twist… I added capers for a little tang! And it really did wonders. This salad is so beautiful, adorned with pear tomatoes and bursting with basil! Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Happiest of Birthday Mother! Cheers!!!

Caprese Salad3

Caprese Pasta Salad
Servings: 4-5 as a side and 2-3 as a light lunch/dinner
Ingredients:
For salad:
  • 2 heaping cups bow-tie pasta
  • Around 20-25 pear tomatoes, sliced
  • 25-30 small cubes of Mozzarella
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained & washed
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
For dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in generously salted boiling water according to package directions till al-dante. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, sliced tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese cubes, capers and toss.
  3. In a small bowl, take all the ingredients mentioned under dressing and whisk.
  4. Add the dressing to the large bowl of salad ingredients and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let it chill in refrigerator for half an hour. Top with sliced basil leaves just before serving.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mediterranean Couscous1

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

This salad is just that. Simple yet flavorful. Hearty yet sophisticated. Perfect lunch/dinner for those lazy, laid back days. Even better when you have only 15-20 minutes to put up a dinner and have scarce produce in your pantry. You just need couscous and throw in as many or as less veggies you have and you’re all set!

You know I’m a sucker for those lazy, quick recipes and this one here ticks all the boxes for me. And ignore my reflection in a spoon in a pic below.. Thank you! 😛

Mediterranean Couscous2

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Serves: 2 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous (I used Barilla Cous Cous)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped or 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small English cucumber, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sliced black olives (If using canned, drain and wash)
  • 2 Tbsp grated cottage cheese (can be substituted with Feta)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

For dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Make couscous according to the package instruction. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Add onion, tomato, cucumber, olives, cottage cheese and cilantro.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for dressing. Season it with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the couscous salad and toss until well combined. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

*This salad can be made in advance and will keep fresh in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*You can make this salad vegan by replacing cottage cheese with tofu or simply omit it.

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebabs with Corn Salad

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebobs with Corn Salad4

This week is going to be fun, though I will have to wait for the weekend for really good stuff to begin. I am celebrating my 28th birthday this Friday! I think birthdays should be a month-long celebration but we are all time-pressed in life! Not that it’s any excuse to ignore the small joys life brings our way but sadly, that’s the cruel reality!

Still nothing can slow down the excitement which is coursing through me! Another year has passed by and this year I am feeling more grown-up than ever! It is true that at the moment I am amongst the mayhem in my life as career transition and so much more is happening. Life is a mess right now.. nonetheless a beautiful mess!

Let’s leave it at that and talk about our today’s recipe. It is a very simple yet delicious way to include so many veggies in your dinner. A light yet filling. I made this last week for dinner and it was so gratifying to get to eat it between the all-week ice-cream madness happening in the house!

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebobs with Corn Salad1

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebobs with Corn Salad2

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebobs with Corn Salad3

It was kind of cleaning-my-refrigerator day so whatever I had on hand I put that under the marinade and I was glad I did! You can also throw in whatever you have at home. Button mushrooms would be a great addition! I prepared the marinade the night before so the flavors were super-intense. But you can do this at least 4 hours before grill time. It makes a super-quick week-night dinner!

I don’t own a grill so I used my convection oven which came with rotisserie. Veggies could not get charred at all in the oven but they cooked perfectly. Nice and juicy! But if you own one (needless to say in that case, I’m totally J), it will make a great recipe for a BBQ party and the veggies will char beautifully!

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebobs with Corn Salad5

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebabs with Corn Salad

Serves: 2-3

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

Marinade:

1 and 1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup yogurt (I used home-made)
4-5 cloves of garlic
salt and freshly cracked pepper, as per taste
1 tsp garam masala powder
dash of lemon juice

Kebabs:

1 zucchini (medium sized)
1 bell pepper (I used yellow)
1 large red onion
1 large tomato (de~seeded)
200 gm cottage cheese

Corn Salad:

1 cup boiled sweet corn
1 small cucumber, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dry basil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp yogurt

Directions:

  1. At least 4 hours before, blend all the ingredients for marinade to a smooth puree. Adjust the seasoning as per your taste. Cut veggies into 1″ cubes and toss with marinade in a bowl. Cover it and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  2. When ready, light grill. Using the wood or skewers, insert the veggies. Place on grill and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes till the veggies are uniformly charred.  *I don’t have grill so I used rotisserie function of my convection oven and cooked as per the instruction manual. Hence the char was missing but kebabs were cooked beautifully.
  3. While veggies cook, mix the ingredients for corn salad in a bowl and toss thoroughly.
  4. Serve skewers topped with remaining marinade (if any) alongside the corn salad.

*You can make this recipe vegan – by replacing yogurt with soy yogurt in marinade, replacing cottage cheese with tofu and in corn salad, omit mayonnaise and use soy yogurt instead.

 

Simple Summer Mac Salad with Tomato & Zucchini

Summer mac salad1

I love pasta in any and every form. Be it a hot or cold preparation. It’s my favorite at dinner time as it is pretty quick to put together and simple.

Especially this salad… It is perfect for summer nights when you are craving something light and refreshing! I particularly loath anything heavy for dinner… So this one ticks all the boxes for me! 🙂

I love this one so much that it’s been prepared 3 times already in my house! It was much appreciated by our guests too! Its an apt side-dish at any elaborate lunch or dinner parties and a must accompaniment for picnics! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Summer mac salad2

Simple Summer Mac Salad with Tomato & Zucchini

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams uncooked elbows
  • 200 grams grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp eggless mayonnaise (American Garden’s)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider/red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt
  •  2 tsp mustard (optional)
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in generously salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine onions, mayonnaise, vinegar, yogurt, mustard, oregano, garlic powder, basil leaves; mix well.
  3. Add tomatoes (and any juice from the tomato), zucchini, pasta, salt and pepper to taste, toss well and place in a large bowl.
  4. Serve immediately or keep in fridge till the serving time.

Enjoy chilled with a glass of your favorite mocktail or cocktail! 🙂