3 Fresh Summer Pastas With Ingredients From Your Garden

Gardening is getting trendy! There is nothing fresher than the vegetables and herbs you grow in your own garden. Of course, if you don’t have room for a garden you can try to grow herbs in the sun that reaches your flowerbeds or grow them in pots and keep them on your front porch.

Here are three pasta dishes that use the bounty of vegetables you may have growing in your garden. They are all meatless recipes, but any of them could have cooked chicken or shrimp added for more protein.

Pasta With Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

Serves 4 as a meatless main dish or 6 to 8 as a side dish

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, forced through a garlic press
  • 1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted calamata olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, preferably heirloom, about 1-3/4 pounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces penne pasta, preferably multi-grain or whole wheat
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese


1. In a large bowl, combine oil, vinegar and garlic. Stir in basil, olives and pepper flakes. Place a strainer over the bowl. Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze the juice and seeds from the tomatoes into the strainer. Use a wooden spoon to press down on the seeded mixture allowing the juices fall into the bowl. Discard the seeds. Chop the tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces and stir into the oil mixture. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding one teaspoon of salt to the water. When al dente, drain pasta well and add to the sauce. Mix well and transfer to four serving plates or shallow bowls. Sprinkle cheese over the pasta just before serving warm. Or, pack the pasta and cheese separately and take to a picnic to serve at room temperature topped with the cheese.


Pesto Pasta With Grilled Vegetables

Serves 4 as a meatless main dish or 6 to 8 as a side dish

If you are growing a bumper crop of basil in your garden, pesto is a good way to use it up. The pesto keeps up to one week in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer. The recipe for the pesto is included, but if you are short on time you may purchase prepared pesto to use in this flavorful pasta recipe.

  • 2 large bell peppers, preferably 1 red and 1 yellow
  • 1 small eggplant or 2 large Portobello mushrooms
  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto*
  • 8 ounces cavatapi pasta
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano


1. Prepare charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat. Cut bell peppers lengthwise into quarters and discard stems and seeds. Cut off and discard ends of eggplant and slice crosswise into 1/2- inch thick rounds. Or, trim off mushroom caps and scrape out gills with a large spoon. Husk the corn. Brush oil evenly over all sides of vegetables.

2. Place vegetables on the barbecue grid, cover and grill 6 minutes. Turn vegetables with tongs, cover and continue to grill 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are browned. Remove from the grill and cut the peppers and eggplant or mushrooms into 1/2-inch chunks. Cut the kernels from the corn and add the vegetables to a large bowl. Add salt and pepper and toss again. Add pesto and toss once more.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions adding 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. When cooked al dente, drain pasta and return to the same pot. Add the vegetables and toss well with the pasta. Transfer to plates, top with cheese and serve warm or at room temperature.

*Basil Pesto

Makes about 1 cup

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • sea salt or kosher salt to taste


1. With motor running, drop garlic cloves through the feed tube of a food processor. Process until minced. Add basil and nuts to food processor; process until fairly smooth, scraping down sides once. With motor running add oil in a stream; process until smooth. Add cheese; pulse just until cheese is incorporated.

Spaghetti With Sautéed Summer Squash, Goat Cheese and Thyme

Serves 4 as a meatless main dish or 6 to 8 as a side dish

  • 8 ounces thin spaghetti, preferably multi-grain or whole wheat
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 6 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves


1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions adding 1 teaspoon of the salt to the water.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add squash and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and sauté 1 minute.

3. Drain spaghetti reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the spaghetti to the same pot and add the vegetable mixture. Toss well. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved water and toss again. If needed, stir in remaining water and toss again.

4. Transfer to four warmed serving plates and top with the goat cheese and thyme leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.


If you enjoyed this recipe, please also check out these tasty options!

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