Lemon Basil Pasta Salad

lemon basil pasta salad

Do you have flavors that you just dream about – ones that, if you see in a dish on a menu, you know that’s what you’re ordering? For me, lemon, basil and goat cheese are some of those gotta-have-it flavors, so I’ve combined them into this light, heavenly pasta salad!

Since it’s practical summer – and the weather is definitely summer – I’m looking for all the cold, chilled meals I can get my hands on! Give this one a try!

ingredients flatlay for lemon basil pasta salad 1

Fresh Veggies Are the Way to Go!

This Lemon Basil Pasta Salad is super versatile, and even though I used a certain selection of veggies, you can use whatever you can get your hands on! The stores have been randomly out of different things, so it can be hard when you head there and can’t find exactly what you need. This salad, though, goes well with so many different veggies.

I used carrots, sugar snap peas, and grape tomatoes. But red or yellow bell peppers, cubed butternut squash, peas, fresh broccoli, or asparagus would be really good in this too!

 

Making the Pasta Salad

Bring a pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil over high heat. Add 12 oz of dried bowtie pasta to the water and reduce the heat to medium. Let pasta cook until al dente.

run cold water over pasta for lemon basil salad 1

Drain the pasta in a large colander. Run cold water over the pasta until it cools to stop it from cooking. Place pasta in a large salad bowl (or mixing bowl) and toss with 1 tsp of olive oil to keep noodles from sticking.

While pasta is boiling, slice the carrots and halve the grape tomatoes. Place carrots in a pot of water and heat over medium for about 5 minutes.

boil tomatoes and carrots for salad 1

Add halved tomatoes and heat for another 5 minutes. Drain the water and add carrots and tomatoes to the bowl of pasta. Add fresh sugar snap peas as well.

If you’re using a log of goat cheese, use a fork or your fingers to crumble it. Once the goat cheese is crumbled and the veggies seem cool, add  cheese to the pasta salad and stir gently.

lemon basil pasta salad with goat cheese 1

Making the Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

A vinaigrette only has two basic ingredients: oil and vinegar. To make this vinaigrette, I used flavored, infused oil and vinegar; a lemon balsamic vinegar and a basil olive oil. To make the vinaigrette, measure 1/2 cup of basil olive oil and 3/4 cup of lemon balsamic vinegar in a container with a lid. Close the lid and and shake the vinegar and oil vigorously together to mix well. Let sit for a minute or two and then shake again.

Note: If you want a less strong basil flavor, use 1/4 cup of basil olive oil and 1/4 cup of plain olive oil. I prefer all basil, but my husband is more sensitive to the basil taste, and he prefers the half-and-half method. That’s the versatility of this salad, though!

making vinagrette dressing for lemon basil pasta salad 1

For best results, if you’ve got time, place the vinaigrette in the refrigerator and give it a good shaking every hour or so until you’re ready to serve the Lemon Basil Pasta Salad.

Note: If you don’t want to buy flavored oil and vinegar – I highly recommend it, though; I use them in everything! – you can use plain white balsamic vinegar and plain olive oil. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and fresh basil leaves torn into tiny pieces. Shake, taste, and add more lemon juice and basil to taste. 

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the pasta salad and toss everything together gently just before serving.

lemon basil pasta salad with foral tea towel and dressing 1

Let’s Make It a Full Meal!

This pasta salad makes an amazing side dish – we ate it alongside a bacon-wrapped pork loin – but it’s easy to turn it into a meal as well.

Here are some ideas:

  • for extra protein (but keeping it vegetarian): add in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Or cut up some black bean veggies burgers or vegetarian chick’n and mix it in.
  • add some meat if you don’t want to keep it vegetarian: grilled, cubed chicken or fresh grilled shrimp.
  • serve the pasta over a plate of fresh lettuce and top with sliced almonds or sunflower seeds and grilled chicken for a filling dinner salad.

And once you’ve turned it into a meal, add a side if you want.

  • how about fresh bread or toasted baguette?
  • serve alongside a bowl of chilled watermelon or a watermelon salad.

Store the leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Eat within 2 days for the freshest flavor; after that, the veggies will start to break down.

 

Print

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad

lemon basil pasta salad with foral tea towel and dressing 1

Light, fresh, summery and delicious – the perfect pasta salad for summer!

  • Author: Lisa Bonny
Scale

Ingredients

  • 12 oz box bowtie pasta (or any desired shape)
  • 1 c. sugar snap peas
  • 1 c. grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 c. baby carrots
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 c. basil olive oil
  • 3/4 c. lemon olive oil

Instructions

To make the pasta salad:

  1. Bring a pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add 12 oz of dried bowtie pasta to the water and reduce the heat to medium. Let pasta cook until al dente.
  3. Drain in large colander and run cold water over pasta to stop cooking process. Pour pasta into large bowl and stir 1 tsp. olive oil in to prevent sticking.
  4. While pasta is boiling, slice the carrots and halve the grape tomatoes. Place carrots in a pot of water and heat over medium for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add halved tomatoes and heat for another 5 minutes.
  6. Drain the water and add carrots and tomatoes to the bowl of pasta. Add fresh sugar snap peas as well.
  7. If you’re using a log of goat cheese, use a fork or your fingers to crumble it. Once the goat cheese is crumbled and the veggies seem cool, add  cheese to the pasta salad and stir gently.

To make the vinaigrette:

  1. Measure 1/2 cup of basil olive oil and 3/4 cup of lemon balsamic vinegar in a container with a lid.
  2. Close the lid and and shake the vinegar and oil vigorously together to mix well. Let sit for a minute or two and then shake again.

Notes

  • If you want a less strong basil flavor, use 1/4 cup of basil olive oil and 1/4 cup of plain olive oil. I prefer all basil, but my husband is more sensitive to the basil taste, and he prefers the half-and-half method. That’s the versatility of this salad, though!
  • If you don’t want to buy flavored oil and vinegar – I highly recommend it, though; I use them in everything! – you can use plain white balsamic vinegar and plain olive oil. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and fresh basil leaves torn into tiny pieces. Shake, taste, and add more lemon juice and basil to taste. 

 

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