Pasta Salad with Parsley Pesto and Two Squashes

This flavor summer pasta salad, featuring green and yellow summer squashes,  is a good choice for a vegan/vegetarian potluck offering, but is easy enough to make as part of an everyday meal. It’s delicious with grilled vegetables and vegan burgers.

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 1 packed cup parsley leaves
  • Several basil leaves, optional
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces penne, preferably penne regate
  • 1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, cut to match zucchini
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup pitted, chopped cured black olives, optional
  • 1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes for garnish, optional

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a food processor, and process until the mixture is coarsely and evenly pureed. Add a very small amount of water if the mixture needs more moisture to process. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente. Just before draining it, add the squashes to the water, and simmer for a minute or so. Drain and rinse the pasta and squashes under cool water, then drain well again.

Combine the squash and pasta mixture in a large serving bowl with the remaining ingredients. Add the pesto and toss well. Line the edge of the salad with cherry tomato halves, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until needed, or serve at once.

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