Summertime Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Jalapeño Pesto
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 cups
- Category: Salad
This healthy pasta salad features bold summer flavors, including tomatoes, corn and black beans tossed in spicy, fresh pesto! It’s a great vegetarian side dish for potlucks and barbecues. See paragraph above for variations and substitution suggestions! Recipe yields about 8 cups salad, which is enough for 4 main or 8 side servings.
- 1/2 pound whole grain bow-tie pasta or rotini or penne
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (10 ounces), sliced into thin rounds
- 1 ear fresh corn, shucked (about 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled feta or diced avocado
Jalapeño herb pesto
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro or basil
- 1 to 2 medium jalapeños, roughly chopped (remove seeds and membranes for less heat), optional
- 1 medium lemon, juiced
- 1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Before draining, reserve about a cup of cooking water. Drain and return to pot. Set aside.
- Toast the pepitas in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are making little popping noises and turning lightly golden on the edges. Set aside to cool a bit.
- To make the pesto, combine the herbs, jalapeño, lemon, garlic and salt in a food processor. Pour in the pepitas. Pulse a few times and then run the machine while drizzling in the olive oil until the mixture is well blended, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
- Pour enough pesto into the pasta to lightly coat it once tossed (you might not quite need all of it). Add a small splash of pasta cooking water and toss well. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and add the drained black beans, sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh corn and feta or avocado. Stir until combined. This salad tastes best after it’s had a chance to marinate for about 30 minutes, but you can serve it right away if need be.
Make it vegan/dairy free: Omit the cheese and use diced avocado instead.
Make it gluten free: Use gluten-free pasta.
Make it nut free: Be sure to use pepitas, which are seeds, rather than almonds or another nut in the pesto.
Storage suggestions: This recipe keeps well for several days in the refrigerator, covered. Leftovers are great served warm or chilled. If you want to change it up/stretch it out, add some fresh, leafy greens and a drizzle of lemony dressing.