Happy Monday, everyone! Let’s pretend like we’re okay with this by making some pasta salad. Are you down?
I did some crazy stuff for this meal, like putting tomatoes on the barbecue and grilling them. They get all wrinkly and ugly and charred, but you will fall in love.
If you’re lucky, stirring together all of the ingredients for dish this won’t pop all of them, and you’ll get to experience the entirely strange but weirdly satisfying pop of the tomatoes in your mouth. They become little bombs of sweetness!
There is something wonderful about cooked tomatoes that makes them so taste so much sweeter. For this meal, I used some mini heirloom tomatoes that I found at the farmers market. They’re about the size of cherry tomatoes, so go for those if you can’t find the mini heirlooms.
Also found in this pasta – broccolini! Whatever you call it, I love it. It’s not actually “baby” broccoli but rather a different vegetable altogether that’s reminiscent of a miniaturized version of the classic veg, with a delicious texture. I love it roasted as a side dish, but it’s even better when mixed with other ingredients like in this recipe.
I feel like eating the long stalks with just a small tuft of floret at the end pleases me much more than the seemingly overgrown giant heads of broccoli you’ll find at the store. Broccolini is just more tender and flavorful, if you ask me.
And then! The vinaigrette.
It’s not your standard balsamic vinaigrette, I’ll tell you that. I just couldn’t think of another name for it to appropriately convey how glorious it is. So yes, it’s got balsamic vinegar in it! But there are so many other things as well…
When I was done throwing ingredients into the measuring cup, it almost didn’t even resemble a balsamic vinaigrette any more. Seriously, who puts cumin and ginger in a balsamic vinaigrette? I DO.
And now, so do you.
We ate this hot one night for dinner, and it was good. I would totally do it again. But after I threw the leftovers in the fridge and ate it for lunch the next day, I was like WHOA. This should be cold and marinated for at least a couple hours for the best results.
The dressing lost its vinegary edge, the tomatoes got even sweeter somehow, and it was the best lunch I had all week (and that’s saying a lot, since ice cream was definitely involved on another day).
But if you’re craving noodles for dinner and this strikes your fancy, do it. Or if you’re too lazy (like me) to make it ahead of time, or there is no way you’re going to make dinner and then not eat it immediately, then do it. You won’t be disappointed.Print
A delicious pasta salad eaten warm or cold. Grilled tomatoes pop in your mouth, and broccolini give it a nice chew. A surprising balsamic vinaigrette adds a layer of tang that wakes up your taste buds! Eat as a side dish or even as a main meal.
For the Salad:
- 1 1/2 lbs cherry tomatoes
- 2 lbs broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb uncooked pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
For the Dressing:
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar*
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
- Preheat your grill to medium-high. Combine the tomatoes and broccolini in a grill basket and drizzle with olive oil. Grill for 15 minutes or so, tossing every few minutes, until the veggies start to blacken and the tomatoes are wrinkly.
- While the veggies cook, boil a pot of water in a stockpot and cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain in a sink with a colander.
- Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients, and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Combine the noodles, the veggies, and about half of the dressing. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Taste and add more dressing if desired.
- If you’d like to serve it cold, pour 3/4 of the dressing on top, stir, then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Refresh with the remaining dressing before serving.
I really like vinegary foods, so I like the extra tanginess from the apple cider vinegar. If you aren’t that hot on vinegary foods, then leave this out and only add it if you feel like it is necessary. Also, use a high-quality, sweet balsamic to optimize flavor and minimize tang.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Dinner
Keywords: pasta salad, grilled tomato, broccolini, balsamic vinaigrette
What about you? Did you try this recipe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and if you loved it, please rate it!
If this pasta salad tantalized your tongue, then some of these recipes should float your boat:
- Fresh Corn Pasta Salad
- Sicilian Pasta Salad with Bold Mediterranean Flavors
- Fresh Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Peas
- Creamy Greek Shrimp and Vegetable
Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 11th, 2014. Last updated: August 2, 2020 at 11:48 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Raquel Smith
Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).