Garden Fresh Pasta Salad

Garden Fresh Pasta

I haven’t always been a pasta lover.  

In times past I saw pasta only as a vehicle for a grey, pasty, congealed type of sauce with chunks of meat sprinkled in and cooked to oblivion.

And then I discovered gardening.

Garden Fresh Pasta Suddenly I had access to fresh garden tomatoes, sweet white onions, and crisp delicious peppers in every color of the rainbow, My world of pasta changed in an instant.  

Garden Fresh Pasta is one of my favorites. It is a simple meal that can be thrown together quickly. Change up the spices, throw in a few herbs and the possibilities are endless. I love spicy, so when I don’t have any homemade chili oil ready to go, I substitute cayenne pepper instead.  I love the added benefit that cayenne pepper gives to boost my immune system. It’s even better when I’m using my own cayenne peppers I have dried from the garden.

Garden Fresh Pasta Another of the things I love about this salad is the juice from the tomato makes up part of the delicious dressing. So, I pick out the juiciest looking tomatoes I can find. Usually this means a vine ripened tomato like a Beef, or Celebrity variety. A Roma or any Italian variety is usually too dry for this salad. Also, don’t worry about the seeds from the tomatoes. You will want to scrape up every bit of tomato juice for the yummy dressing to cover your pasta and you wont even notice the seeds.

Orecchiette Pasta with garden fresh veggies, feta and toasted walnuts all add up to a wonderful mouthful of delicious fresh flavor. 

Garden Fresh Pasta Salad
  • 1- 2 tbsp chili infused olive oil or substitute ½ tsp cayenne pepper with 1 -2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 links Italian sweet sausage
  • 1 lb package of Orecchiette (may substitute any shaped pasta)
  • 4 vine ripened garden fresh tomatoes chopped with liquid reserved
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 1 cup chopped colorful peppers (whatever you have available)
  • ¼ cup chopped Walnuts
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped flat italian parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 1-2 tsps sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Lay walnuts on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast walnuts until they start to brown and smell toasted, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Cool.
Italian Sausage
  1. Heat saute pan to medium.
  2. Add 1 tbsp chili infused oil (or oil and cayenne pepper)and cook sausage until well browned on all sides and cooked completely through, adding additional oil as necessary.
  3. Remove from pan, cool and slice into ¼ inch rounds.
  1. Cook according to directions on package.
  2. Drain pasta in colander and rinse in cold water to stop cooking process.
  3. Pour into large bowl and place in refrigerator to chill while preparing vegetables.
  1. Place 1½ Tbsp olive oil in saute pan heated on Medium low.
  2. Add chopped basil and stir.
  3. Remove from heat after basil has wilted and turned bright green in color, about 1 minute.
  4. Cool.
Assembling your Salad
  1. Add tomatoes with their reserved liquid, peppers, onions, Italian sausage, olive oil basil mixture, parsley, garlic salt, salt, and freshly ground pepper to the chilled pasta and stir gently.
  2. Sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted walnuts.
  3. Serve immediately.
Great Tip
Prepare walnuts, Italian sausage, pasta and vegetables (with the exception of the tomatoes, because you want every dip of that juice for your dressing) earlier in the day. This way, your salad will be quick to throw together when you are ready to eat it.


Monday Morning Review: 5 Spicy Eats and Treats to Tickle your Tastebuds

Monday Morning Review: 5 Spicy Eats and Treats to Tickle your Taste Buds I love spicy food and go to great lengths to create my own spice combinations to season my dishes with. Currently, I am in the process of smoking and drying a few beautiful red jalapenos to make a killer chipotle powder. So far, so good; the red demons smoked up perfectly and are now in the process of drying. I see some delicious spicy meals in my future. … 

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Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanut Sauce

I absolutely adore vegetables and I can’t seem to get enough of them this time of year, so I was thrilled to start harvesting my broccoli this past weekend!

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms

I couldn’t resist nibbling on the fresh crunchy green stalks as I was putting those big beautiful heads into my basket, all the while dreaming of Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanut Sauce soon to be on the table.


Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanut Sauce Oh, what a lucky girl I am!  


Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanut Sauce Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanut Sauce makes a great vegan, gluten free meal; packed with protein from the peanuts and peanut butter.


Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanut Sauce If your diet has no restrictions feel free to add some sliced grilled chicken on top for a delicious entree. 

Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanut Sauce


5.0 from 1 reviews
Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanut Sauce
  • ⅓ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or any good quality oil)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1½ pounds broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  1. Place peanut butter into a medium sized microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds to soften.
  2. Whisk in ¼ cup water, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and vinegar until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until broccoli turns bright green and begins to soften, about 5- 6 minutes. May get a little brown in spots, this is okay.
  4. Add the remaining ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon soy sauce, bell pepper and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pepper has softened and the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat; stir in the reserved peanut sauce and season with crushed red pepper.
  6. Garnish with peanuts.

Recipe very lightly adapted from Eating Well; Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanuts

Spicy Stir Fried Broccoli and Peanut Sauce Shared with:

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Frijoles Negros and Modelo

I awoke yesterday morning to the sound of birds chirping, and the sun inching up just over the hills. The sky was pale blue with only a tiny whisper of clouds, and I thought to myself how lovely the day was sure to be. In my happiness and exuberance, I decided there was no way I could keep this monumental piece of information to myself; but who could I share such important news with? No one had yet stirred, and the house was dead silent. So, I did the most natural thing I might do in the circumstances and clanked a few cups while preparing my coffee. Low and behold, Tim magically appeared and stumbled into the kitchen on his way to lay hold of a highly desirous cup of coffee.

In hindsight, I should have known better…been more aware of the danger signs set in place before me. Tim’s groggy stagger into the kitchen with no morning coffee, after being awakened at zero dark thirty, wasn’t enough to sway me. Recklessly, and with complete abandon, I forged ahead, without any forewarning, to my dear, normally, agreeable husband and blurted out my grandiose prognosis of a fine Spring day.

Frijoles Negros (Black Beans) and Modelo: Black beans, slowly simmered with Negro Modelo and chipotle, gives an extra punch of flavor to an already favorite. At this point, it’s best to say; I stepped back and let the feathers fly. Not that my sweet husband said a word, no…that’s not his style, but if looks good translate, well I shudder to think what all was being said.

Lesson learned. No matter how beautiful the day’s forecast might be, wait until hubby has had his first cup of coffee to share the good news.

Frijoles Negros (Black Beans) and Modelo: Black beans, slowly simmered with Negro Modelo and chipotle, gives an extra punch of flavor to an already favorite.

No respectable meal, South of the Border, would be thoroughly complete without a hearty portion of beans, making Frijoles Negros and Modelo the perfect side dish. Black beans, slowly simmered with Negro Modelo and chipotle, gives an extra punch of flavor to an already favorite. 

Frijoles Negros and Modelo
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  1. 2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 Lg onion, diced
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 lg carrot, diced
  5. 1-2 Serrano peppers, seeded and diced (depending on taste)
  6. 1 Chipotle pepper, finely diced
  7. 1/2 tsp cumin
  8. 1/2 tsp coriander
  9. 1 tsp Creole seasoning
  10. 12 oz Negro Modelo (or another Mexican beer)
  11. 4 cups black beans (already soaked)
  12. 3 cups water
  13. 2 tsp sea salt
  14. 1 tsp sugar
  15. 1 Chipotle, finely diced
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion, saute until softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute.
  4. Add carrot, peppers, cumin, coriander and Creole seasoning. Stir and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add beans, beer and water and bring to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beans are tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  7. Check beans occasionally, stir, and add water as necessary to prevent sticking and beans from drying out.
  8. Once beans are softened, add salt to taste.
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