This pasta salad is full of flavor from fresh tomatoes, roasted bell pepper and black olives. Tossed with an easy to make dressing, and fresh parsley and making use of whole wheat penne makes a quick and healthy lunch or is perfect to make ahead for a picnic or lunchbox.
I don’t know if you have tried the TSRI’s pasta salad from the blog, but it’s one of my favorite pasta salads. This roasted bell pepper and black olive pasta salad recipe is adapted from that recipe and if you love pasta salads you will love this one.
Roasting bell pepper is one of my favorite things to do, so much so that I love to use it in my indian tomato based curries too. My homemade pasta sauce also uses roasted red bell pepper. The added flavor that roasted bell pepper imparts to a sauce, or salad is absolutely amazing.
Its really hot here in India. Hot and humid. We have got no rains so far, with the clouds teasing us almost every other day. Entering the kitchen to cook is something I dread, because I know I will come out feeling like taking a shower immediately. Recipes like this easy pasta salad where the only cooking involved is cooking the pasta, and the oven takes care of the roasting bit, are a welcome respite.
I have been thinking of starting a small herb garden. We do grow mint and for a brief period had successfully grown thyme and oregano too. In US, I had a flourishing basil plant and there was always more basil than I could use. Every time I make pasta or pizza, I tell myself I should grow basil, parsely, thyme at home instead of traveling 30 minutes for a small bunch of these herbs.
Using fresh herbs always makes a difference to your salads, or the sauces used in pastas and pizzas. I would recommend using fresh whenever you can.
- • 225 gms whole wheat penne rigate
- • 200 gms ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
- • 1 cup black olives, sliced
- • fresh Mozzarella, chopped to bite sized pieces
- • 1 red bell pepper
- For the dressing:
- • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- • salt and pepper, to taste
- • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 200 C. Line a baking sheet with foil. Coat the bell pepper with some olive oil and place on baking sheet. Put baking sheet in oven and allow the bell pepper to roast for 40 minutes, rotating them half way through baking. Once the skin is charred on all sides and the bell peppers are soft, remove from oven. You could also roast bell pepper on the gas over flame, like you roast eggplants. When cool to touch, peel skin off and chop into thin strips.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool.
- Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes (you can broil the tomatoes for that extra grilled touch in the pasta salad along with the bell pepper), black olives, mozzarella, chopped roasted bell pepper.
- For the dressing, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth. You can also whisk by hand.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta, add parmesan and parsley, and mix well.
- Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and serve later.