Justin and I consider pasta salad the first rite of summer - admittedly we are known to bust out the first pasta salad of the season a little too soon...okay, really early, like at the first sight of a robin or when the temp hovers around 60 degrees and the day light stays with us until 7:00pm. We are like Snow White singing and dancing with little birdies surrounding us in the backyard at the first sight of warm weather. Oh glorious day! We feel free and can't get enough of the warmth from the sun- then it rains for the month of May and we are catapulted back into the reality that we shouldn't have packed away all of our cold weather clothes.
Spring, she is a funny lady- she gives us a taste and then takes it away. It's like taking a bite of an awesome cupcake after a fast and then having someone take it away before you have even finished chewing.
We are stubborn and will continue celebrating summer even before its official start. Here in the Lakes Region, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the Summer Season. A family BBQ would not be complete without a few pasta salads, my Aunt hosted an awesome get together on Memorial Day and of course this was my contribution. Even though this is not the first pasta salad of the year, it's actually the 3rd- it was the best out of the three.
I served this on the side with an amazing Falafel Burger but you could go wrong with veggie kabobs or a nice grilled portabella burger or grilled summer vegetable napoleon stack. Or you could just go to town with a big ol' bowl and a bottle of wine and call it good.
What is your kick start to summer recipe that you make at the first signs of warm weather?
Do you get all crazy like us at the first signs of warm weather?
Herb Pesto Pasta Salad
serves 4 as a side
you will need:
2 cups dried pasta (ones with ridges are best)
1/4 cup Sunflower Herb Pesto
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
2 small kumato or heirloom tomatoes, sliced into small wedges
1 tsp raw Sunflower Seeds
Fresh herbs for garnish, optional
Bring a medium sauce pan filled with water to a boil, add a good amount of salt
(you are looking for water like the ocean)
Add pasta and cook according to the box until al dente.
While pasta is cooking, prep olives if needed (easiest if you purchase olives already pitted and sliced) & slice tomatoes into wedges. Place in a medium mixing bowl.
Drain pasta and add to the mixing bowl along with the pesto. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed and pesto is evenly distributed among all ingredients. Transfer to a serving bowl (or serve from the mixing bowl) and top with fresh herbs & additional sunflower seeds.
Serve immediately or chill prior to serving.
Will keep refrigerated up to 3 days.