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The Best Summer Pasta Salad

July 11, 2011 by Joan Nova in Blogging, Finishing Touches, Italian, Recipe Development, Salads, Sauce, Vegetables | 14 Comments

I was invited by Kitchen Play to participate in a Progressive Dinner Party with five other food bloggers. This is not an invitation to be taken lightly. It could, in fact, send some cooks running out of the kitchen in a tizzy. Why? Well, we’re required to sign up to create a recipe for a course yet assigned, spotlighting a secret ingredient from an unnamed sponsor. Sure, why not? You know food bloggers…we’re fearless. Last week the sponsor was revealed. It was Dreamfields Pasta and my course was salad. I did the happy dance.

Dreamfields is a perfect pasta for summer because it’s a healthier and lighter carb pasta. Well, really, it’s perfect for any season of the year. Did you know Dreamfields has high fiber (5g per serving) and only 5g of digestible carbs per serving?

What makes this pasta salad “the best” is the taste. That’s tantamount, right?! It’s bright, fresh and bold. It’s also easy to make and requires little cooking so it’s perfect for a summer meal! The vegetables (zucchini, red bell pepper and fennel) remain in their natural state, uncooked. And, there’s a savory fresh orange dressing!

4.3 from 3 reviews
The Best Summer Pasta Salad
  • 1 large orange (zested and peeled)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dry seasonings (salt, pepper, oregano, fennel seed)
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • dash honey
  • 1 red pepper julienned
  • 1 zucchini julienned
  • ½ fennel julienned
  • Dreamfields Penne Pasta
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • oil cured black olives
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (grated Italian cheese)
How To
  1. Julienne cut vegetables and peel orange.
  2. Reserve zest and fennel frond to toss with pasta.
  3. Pulse orange, garlic, olive oil and dry seasonings in blender to emulsify.
  4. Cook pasta according to directions, drain and toss with vegetables and dressing.

Finishing Touches: Toss pasta with fennel fronds, oil-cured black olives, reserved orange zest, grated parmigiano reggiano and toasted pumpkin seeds. You’ll be glad you did. They bring texture, saltiness, and big bold flavors.

 Note that the garlic and dry seasonings add a layer of savoriness to the sweet and citric orange creating a sauce that dances on your palate.

Pack it Up. There’s no mayo so it can be safely transported. Take it with you and enjoy it on the road.

A Contest for Readers. Be sure to check out all 6 recipes at Kitchen Play. I’m sure there’s one you’ll want to try and Dreamfields Pasta is sponsoring a giveaway that may be of interest. All you have to do is recreate any recipe from this month’s Progressive Party, post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to your post on Kitchen Play to enter. All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win $100 (6 prizes total).  The deadline is August 7, 2011. Please review the complete contest rules before entering. Good luck!


Note 1. I guess Casey knows I like salad because when I was invited to participate about a half-year ago, my course was salad too. At that time I did Squash Putanesca, A Salad.

Note 2. I will be nominally compensated by Dreamfields Pasta for developing this recipe.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Robin Sue says:

    I bet they loved your recipe Joan. I will have to look for this pasta at my stores and give it a try.

  2. Winnie says:

    This is a great recipe Joan- so many bold flavors…I can’t wait to give it a try!

  3. bellini says:

    I do love a delicious pasta salad Joan. I am glad you were able to play over at the kitchen once again!!!

  4. Peter says:

    These salt-cured olives are my fave so this pasta salad gets an instant thumbs-up from me!

  5. norma says:

    I know you like your salads and this one I think is one of your best…

  6. I’ve never heard of dreamfields. I like your pasta salad. The orange is intriguing. I never think of oranges in the summer.

  7. Dorothy says:

    Looks delicious, sounds refreshing and easy. My kind of salad.

  8. Great idea to do a progessive dinner – and you are so right about food bloggers being fearless :)

  9. redkathy says:

    Very Sassy Joan!

  10. A great change from the usual pasta salads drenched in mayo. Again, I’m impressed with your flavour and texture matching Joan.

  11. Looks like some awesome pasta salad!!

  12. Lori Lynn says:

    Great recipe Joan. Love the sauce.
    YAY for summer salads.

  13. Pam says:

    Made this yesterday and it was so delicious! I’m especially in love with the orange sauce.

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