Irresistible Summer Pasta Salad has pan roasted corn, crisp sugar snap peas, savory feta and fresh herbs in a bright homemade lemon vinaigrette. A healthy summer side dish that is very easy to make and is always a hit.
This post may contain affiliate links which I earn a small portion in sales if a purchase is made. Rest assured though, it is never at any additional cost to you.
During the hot summer months one of my favorite go to meals is cold pasta salad. Not only is it incredibly cooling, it is a fast, easy and delicious way to eat plenty of veggies. There have been many times I have been know to eat recipes such as Springtime Pasta Salad, Zesty Chicken Pasta Salad and Mediterranean Delight Pasta Salad for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. I adore the make once and eat many times with absolutely no preparation.
Additionally, pasta salads like this Summer Pasta Salad make a great companion for BBQ’s, cookouts and potlucks.
English Cucumbers– These cucumbers also are amazing when cut into coins and used as a chip replacement with Lemon Dill Hummus.
Grape Tomatoes– Also are work well in all kinds of different summer salads like Creamy Cucumber Tomato Salad.
Frozen Corn or Freshly Cut Corn off of the Cob– Here is a helpful video showing how to quickly and easily cut corn off of the cob.
Mint– Use the leftover mint to make Honey Vodka Lemonade or add as the secret ingredient to salads.
Flat Leaf Parsley– Also know as Italian Parsley.
Basil– Have leftover basil? Make this super delicious Toasted Walnut Pesto.
Bell Pepper– Such an easy way to eat across the rainbow of colors and it adds vibrancy to salads
Sugar Snap Peas– Is supper tasty dipped into hummus or added to Lazy Day Chinese Chicken Salad.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil– Here is a very helpful and simple breakdown of how to pick the best quality olive oil.
How To Make Summer Pasta Salad From Scratch
- Whisk together oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and salt.
- Pan roast corn and cook pasta to al dente. Add both ingredients to vinaigrette. (Cool pasta to room temperature in refrigerator at this point.)
- Prepare veggies on add to pasta bowl.
- Chop herbs and add to pasta along with feta crumbles.
- Toss well.
How To Make Pan Roasted Corn
The caramelized sweet roasted flavor of pan roasting corn is one of the secrets to making this pasta salad absolutely amazing. Here are the simple steps:
- Heat a medium to larger sized frying pan over medium high heat.
- Add oil and using a spatula gently coat bottom of pan.
- Add corn and cook stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes. Corn kernels should become toasted and browned.
What goes with cold pasta salad?
Can you make pasta salad the night before?
Yes, this pasta salad tastes as amazing the next day as it does the first.
Should you rinse pasta when making pasta salad?
There are no black and white answer to this question as there are very mixed opinions as to the best way to cook pasta. I can only tell you what my Italian pasta loving heart prefers. I highly recommend not rinsing the pasta because cooking it in well salted water flavors the pasta. Unfortunately rinsing the pasta washes away that flavor.
What is the fastest and best way to cool pasta when making pasta salad?
I recommend adding the pasta and roasted corn to the vinaigrette and then placing it in the refrigerator to cool to room temperature. Also, stirring frequently will help the pasta to cool faster. This approach will take approximately 15 minutes for the pasta to come to room temperature.
How long does Summer Pasta Salad stay fresh?
Since there is no meat, this pasta salad will stay fresh for 3-4 days beautifully in the refrigerator.
Summer Pasta Salad
- 8 oz pasta of choice *See Note #1 below
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil *See Note #2 below (plus 2tbsp extra for roasting corn)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice *about 2 lemons
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 lg garlic cloves (crushed) *See Note #3 below
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 lg fresh basil leaves *finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives *about 1/2 bunch
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 6 lg fresh mint leaves *finely chopped
- 5 oz sugar snap peas *cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 lb grape tomatoes *cut in half
- 1 English cucumber *peel on, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 lg orange bell pepper *cut into bite size pieces
- 2 cups corn *See Note #4 below
- 1 cup feta crumbles
Prepare the Vinaigrette
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and salt. Set aside.
Cook the Pasta
- Bring 3 quarts of water to boil over high heat. Salt the water and cook the pasta according following package instructions to al dente. See Note #5 below.
- Drain the pasta well (do not rinse) and add to vinaigrette. Stir well.
- Heat a medium sized frying pan over medium/high heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil and the corn. Cook stirring frequently for 8- 10 mins or until kernels are toasted. Add to pasta bowl and stir well.
- Prepare veggies and herbs. Cool Pasta to room temperature (See Note #6 below) and stir in veggies, herbs and feta. Cover and cool in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This salad can also be eaten immediately after being prepared.