Lately I’ve been going through a wee bit of a pizza fixation. But eating that much pizza even with whole grain crusts can’t be all that healthy, plus cranking my oven up to 500 F at the end of a hot day is sometimes a bit much. So in order to enjoy those pizza flavors, increase the vegetable quotient, and avoid heating up my entire house, I came up with this pasta salad recipe. I should warn you that my pasta salads tend to be heavier on the salad and lighter on the pasta, so if you want a more traditional dish, double the amount of pasta. Also, for you meat eaters out there, this would be really tasty with pepperoni or prosciutto. The banana peppers give it a little bit of a kick, but if you want more heat, try peperoncinis. Not a fan of any amount of spiciness? Use 2 tbsp red wine vinegar instead.
Pizza Pasta Salad
- 6 ounces short pasta (like penne) cooked and cooled
- 1 large tomato diced, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 baby zucchini or squash, thinly sliced (you want the smallest squash you can find)
- 1 medium or 1/2 large red onion, diced
- 6 ounces mozzarella, diced or shredded
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup pickled banana peppers, drained & chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano or 1/2 tbsp dried
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Allow to refrigerate for at least one hour before serving so flavors can meld. Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish.