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August 3, 2017

Quick Summer Pasta Salad

by Anne Paddock

A colorful pasta salad is the perfect meal on a warm summer evening especially when the whole meal takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish. Fresh, locally grown sweet cherry tomatoes are in season but any type of chopped tomatoes will work along with a sweet Vidalia onion, and lots of fresh spinach with whole grain pasta – but green zucchini, yellow squash, multi-colored peppers, and broccoli florets also make for a delicious pasta salad. Let your taste buds drive your recipe but know that seasoning is essential; otherwise, the pasta salad will be bland.

This salad contains no oils but if you prefer to add a tablespoon or two of olive oil or a few tablespoons of low-sodium vegetable both, do so.

Quick Summer Pasta Salad


  • 1 16-ounce container whole grain penne pasta (or the pasta of your choice)
  • 1 large sweet Vidalia onion, chopped fine
  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes ((1 red and 1 yellow or 2 red)
  • 12 ounces of fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons Penzy’s Pasta Sprinkle (a blend of basil, oregano, thyme, and garlic) or your favorite seasoning)
  • Salt, to taste (I use Salty Wahine Passion Fruit Chili Pepper made of Hawaiian sea salt, chili pepper, natural passion fruit flavoring, annatto, and gluten-free vinegar).


  • Heat a large pot of water to boiling and add the pasta. Cook until al dente (8-11 minutes). Drain. Set aside.
  • Rinse the tomatoes, remove the stems, and cut in half.
  • Place the tomatoes and onion in a large soup pot on medium heat and cook for about 8 minutes until the onion starts to look translucent but the tomatoes are still holding their shape. Add the 2 tablespoons of seasoning and stir to blend
  • Add the spinach to the onion/tomato mixture and stir to blend. Cook until the spinach starts to wilt.
  • Pour the pasta into the onion/tomato/spinach mixture and stir to blend or use tongs to distribute the vegetables among the pasta. Season with salt and stir and transfer to a large serving bowl. Garnish with fresh basil, optional.
  • Serve immediately. Serves 6-8 as a main course or up to 12 as a side dish.

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