A fresh and light addition to your spring pasta dishes. This Zucchini Pasta Salad in a Lemon Vinaigrette is filled with seasonal zucchini, sun dried tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Then topped off with a tangy vinaigrette. Make it for your next lunch or side dish to a weekend barbecue.
Earlier this morning my daughter and I were out on a walk. I noticed something a little different. A slight shift in the atmosphere, the mood or maybe just the overall feeling. It felt like a Friday morning. And it felt great.
I haven’t had that feeling since the world decided to take a downturn back in mid March. Every day has been rolling into the next with blurred lines all the way. Sure, I’ve been keeping up routine of sorts and trying to stick to only working weekdays. But that Friday feeling, that I love and crave so much, just took a vacation.
That changed this morning when I noticed more hustle around my neighborhood, people going about their business gardening, walking, bike riding, cars on their way to work and people idling chatting as they passed by in the streets. It felt like just another Friday morning.
Yes, life is returning to a new pace, a new vibe or whatever. And I’ll take it, I’ll take anything just about now.
And keeping with normalcy, here’s your Friday recipe. I have to say, it’s a great one. A keeper as they say. I made this for lunch earlier this week and there were zero leftovers. When that happens, I know we have a success story. Although we had this as a lunch, it’s would make a great side to my Zesty Pan Seared Salmon too!
So, let’s take a look at how this Zucchini Pasta Salad in a Lemon Vinaigrette comes together.
the ingredients to make the pasta salad
Like always, we have all our fresh ingredients laid out in front of us to make life easy. The big flavour from this salad comes from the Lemon Vinaigrette, so be sure you don’t skip it! It’s all about the salad dressing.
Apart from the ingredients for the vinaigrette we just have pasta, zucchini, mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and arugula. Okay, that’s five ingredients I know, but not too many.
Time to get cooking.
making the Zucchini Pasta Salad in a Lemon vinaigrette
Not shown here, but fist get the pasta cooking.
Cut the zucchini into half length ways and and then cut into slices like you see here. Peel and slice the garlic into really thin slices. By slicing the garlic instead of crushing it, you get a nice bite of sauteed garlic in the pasta salad. Don’t skip it, it’s great!
Next up, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and the garlic and sautee for just a couple of minutes.
Add the zucchini and cook for about 5 – 8 minutes until it’s soft and a little golden. Remember to stir it occasionally while it’s cooking. This will prevent it from sticking or burning and ensure even cooking.
Next up, add the chopped sun dried tomatoes. Sun dried tomatoes are so full of flavour. For this recipe I used sun dried tomatoes packed in oil. I recommend these kind as they are oily and carry a lot of flavour.
putting together the pasta salad
Give it a good stir and remove from heat. Add the pasta and stir really well. Leave it to cool for a few minutes.
Make the vinaigrette
In a small bowl, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients. So, we have olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and garlic. Whisk it all up and it’s done. Pour it over the cooled pasta and stir well. Now the flavour sets in, delicious!
Make sure the pasta has cooled down enough before you add the arugula and the cheese. If not the arugula will wilt and the cheese will melt. Not really want we want!
Once it’s cooled to room temperature, you can add the arugula and the mozzarella. Give it a toss and it’s done.
one pasta salad ready to enjoy
This salad is great at room temperature or cold. If you prefer you pasta salads cold, put it in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving. I’ve had it at room temperature and again cold later in the day. Both delicious.
Can I make this in advance
Yes, absolutely. It’s delicious as soon as it’s made and probably even better after a few hours. The only suggestion I would make if making this in advance is don’t add the arugula until just before serving. It won’t wilt too much in the dressing, but it will wilt a little.
You can even make this the evening before serving, no problem at all.
This is a great make ahead dish for summer barbecues and pot lucks. Although this serves six, you can easily scale up the recipe. In the recipe below, there is an option to change all portion sizes, isn’t that great! You just put in how many servings and the recipe will adjust all of the ingredients for you. Easy for a lunch for two or a party of twenty. You choose.
As wonderful as this pasta salad, you might be interested in a few more ideas. So, I’ve put together a list of the other pasta salad recipes on the blog. I’ve yet to create a creamy pasta salad and I don’t know why not. All I can say is that before this summer is over, I’m making one. Watch this space!
looking for more ideas
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
- Easy Red Pesto Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- Pasta Pomodoro
- Bell Pepper Pasta Salad
- Zucchini Fritters
- Mediterranean Vegetable & Chicken Salad
- Parmesan Topped Zucchini
This salad makes a great lunch or even just a simple dinner. It’s great on it’s own or as a side dish to any kind of grilled meats or seafood. This week, we had it for lunch with some garlic bread and it was perfect. I think next time, it will be a side dish to a barbecue. Maybe some grilled chicken. I’m already looking forward to it. All we need now is the weather to cheer up again. I’m not complaining about the rain and cooler temperatures as I love chilly weather. And I know summer will be here soon enough with a vengeance.
And if you love zucchini, check out More Than 20 Summer Zucchini Recipes!
I hope you enjoyed the post today and get a chance to make it at some point. Enjoy the weekend and the slow return to our new normal. Keep on cooking and I’ll see you all on Monday. Cheers to a normal kind of Friday!
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Get The Recipe!
Zucchini Pasta Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette
For the Lemon Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- zest of one lemon
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
For the Pasta Salad
- 8 oz fusilli pasta
- 1 zucchini cut in half length ways then cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes roughly chopped
- 1 ball fresh mozzarella cut into small pieces
- 1 cup fresh arugula leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and cut into thin slices
Make the Lemon Vinaigrette
- Combine all ingredients into a small bowl, whisk and set aside.
Make the Pasta Salad
- In boiling water, cook pasta for 8 minutes. Remove, drain and set aside
- In a large skillet set over medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Lightly sautee for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the sliced zucchini and give a good stir. Cook, stirring occasionally until the zucchini is soft and lightly golden. About 8 minutes.
- Add the sun dried tomatoes and stir well. Remove from heat.
- Add the pasta to the vegetables and stir well. Add the vinaigrette and stir to combine.
- Add fresh mozzarella and arugula and stir well.
- Serve at room temperature or cold.