Grilled Pepper and Pasta Salad

If you are looking for a delicious salad to enjoy while you are grilling this week, this one will be a great side dish or main course to try! Grilling the vegetables adds a wonderful smoky flavour and tenderness that is perfect with the pasta. 

Toasting the pasta makes this salad unique and something you may want to do for all your pasta salads this summer! Give it a try...

Grilled Pepper and Bocconcini Pasta Salad

Toasting the pasta gives a nutty flavour and golden colour to this salad. Serve this fresh tasting salad with grilled sausages for a perfect summer meal! 

1 cup (250 mL) baby bowtie or shell pasta 
1 each large red, yellow and green pepper
Half a bunch of asparagus, trimmed
2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil, divided
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 tub (200 g) mini bocconcini, drained
3 tbsp (45 mL) aged balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) basil or sundried tomato pesto
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
Pinch pepper
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped pitted oil cured olives (optional)

In small nonstick skillet, toast pasta, stirring often over medium high heat for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat.

In saucepan of boiling salted water, cook pasta for about 8 minutes or until tender but firm. Drain well and rinse under cold water; place in large bowl.

Cut peppers into quarters; place in a large bowl with asparagus. Toss with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil. Place on greased grill over medium high heat and grill for about 8 minutes, turning once or twice until golden and tender crisp. Remove to cutting board and chop; add to pasta. Stir in artichoke hearts and boconccini.

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar with remaining oil and pesto, salt and pepper. Drizzle over pasta mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with olives, if using.

Makes 8 servings.

Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.


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