Squash Blossom & Purple Basil Pasta Salad

PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad12‘Bring a side dish’ means it’s officially summer. I think we can all step up our game in pasta salad and add a new staple to our summer plates. Starting with local ingredients in season helps add flavor and color, plus using a vegetable pasta made from quinoa grain keeps it healthy and packed with protein. When I saw the seasons first pint of heirloom tomatoes from Delvin Farms and squash blossoms, I knew the flavor was going to be out of this world. Squash blossoms are an edible, dainty flower stemming from a squash. They aren't found at grocery stores, the color only graces local farmers market this time of year. They are best if used the same day purchased and can be eaten raw, baked, or mixed in with soup.

PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad5PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad1 PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad2 PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad3Making this recipe will turn heads at the next cookout you have to attend. It would pair well with all of our summer favorites; veggie burgers, baked beans, and corn on the cob. Cheers to summer time!

INGREDIENTS: + 8oz Garden Pagoda Pasta from Ancient Harvest + 1 large summer squash, diced into small cubes + 1 pint heirloom tomatoes + 5 squash blossoms, sliced + 2 tbs white onion, diced + 3-4 tbs purple basil, finely chopped + salt and pepper to taste + 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil + 1 tbs red wine vinegar

METHOD: Cook pasta according to package, drain and set aside to cool in the fridge. While the pasta is cooling, cut squash, quarter the heirloom tomatoes, dice the onion, and finely chop the purple basil. Set aside half of the basil. Toss all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Slice the squash blossoms by removing the stem, and cutting it crosswise into thin strips.

To make the dressing, combine 4 tablespoons olive oil with1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and whisk together with ample amounts of salt and pepper. Add the remaining half of the finely diced purple basil.

Toss dressing & vegetables into the chilled pasta. Garnish with more salt, pepper, and basil to your liking. PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad7 PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad10 PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad9 PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad8PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad4PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad11PlatedColor.com-PastaSalad13