One Recipe, Two Meals: Summery Pasta Salad

Pasta salad: always a winner, always a fan.
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There's something so satisfying about a good ol' pasta salad. First of all, it's pasta. Second of all, you can load it up with really anything, serve it chilled and people will love you for it.

I remember eating pasta salad as a kid in the summer ALL THE TIME. Picnics, lunches, family gatherings, church banquets — like, constantly. It's basically the perfect food, because while it's relaxed, it also encompasses comfort. You can flavor it any which way you want, but somehow it never feels pretentious. It's an ego-less food. It's not a jerk. It's humble and nice.

You can just ignore me.

I've come up with a super-easy pasta salad recipe that's perfect for your kids and you, with only a few minor differences. I'm keeping the kids' version creamy with ranch dressing, baby. And for the adults, there's a simple garlic vinaigrette and millions of sauteed veggies. It's so delicious. Can't deal. Won't deal. Except for the eating part. I can most certainly deal with that.

One Recipe, Two Meals: Summery Pasta Salad
1 pound penne pasta
1 carrot, thinly sliced and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon ranch dressing
1 zucchini, sliced and then cut into fourths
1 yellow squash, sliced and then cut into fourths
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup mozzarella pearls
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
10 chives, finely minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Boil the pasta until it reaches al dente. Drain and divide it in half — or two-thirds and a third. Do whatever you think works for your fam!

In the meantime, saute the zucchini, squash and bell pepper in a tablespoon of oil over a medium-high heat, until you see a little color all over, about six minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Lay the veggies on a plate to cool.

In one bowl, combine the pasta with the carrots, half the cherry tomatoes and the tablespoon of ranch dressing. It's ready for your kids!

Whisk the white wine vinegar with the garlic powder, chives and olive oil, until it becomes an emulsified vinaigrette.

In another bowl, combine the remaining pasta with the cooled vegetables, remaining cherry tomatoes, the mozzarella pearls and the chive dressing. Toss to coat and combine everything.

Garnish with extra chives or parsley. Eat, eat, eat!

Follow Bev on her blog, Bev Cooks, if you think you can even handle more.

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