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.


Good Morning Breakfast: Hello Organization

“An idea can only become a reality once it is broken down into organized, actionable elements.” 
― Scott Belsky Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

Organizing is one of my strong suits when it comes to cupboards, furniture, and other peoples lives. Just ask my husband, he will tell you I am great at organizing his life. Okay, maybe not, but that’s another story.

At the moment I am going through every niche and corner of our house with a fine tooth comb. The clutter and stuff that is squirreled away in cupboards and corners I could swear I packed off to the local youth ranch 6 months ago. But here it is, in all its glory, multiplying faster than a rabbit and threatens my path to simplicity and sanity.

Potato and Egg Baskets: Gluten Free - Pure and Simple You have heard that old saying when ringing in a New Year, “out with the old, and in with the new,” right?  I find I am perfectly willing to part with old shoes I never wear, and dishes collected over the years that sit around and gather dust. That is the easy part. The greater difficulty will be to stick to the decision I have made not to accumulate more stuff. Shocking I know, especially in our society of commercialism with messages everywhere we look  appealing to us to buy, buy, buy.

Potato and Egg Baskets: Gluten Free - Pure and Simple This year, I am saying no. I don’t need another widget, whatchamacallit, or whoosit. I am taking back my home, living simpler, and giving more to those things that money can’t buy. Small, organizable, actionable steps, to reclaiming my sanity in a crazy mixed up world. Who’s with me?

Potato and Egg Baskets: Gluten Free - Pure and Simple Potato and Eggs Baskets are perfect when you have a little extra time to spend in the kitchen. Start with a potato crust, add deliciously seasoned eggs with chicken sausage, sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Warm from the oven, sprinkle a bit of goat cheese on top and voila, a hearty gluten free breakfast fit for a king.

Extras can be put in the fridge, and warmed up in the microwave for a quick easy breakfast later in the week. Work a little today, and save a bit of time tomorrow, now what could be better than that?

Potato and Egg Baskets: Gluten Free

Other Gluten Free Breakfasts you might like Gluten Free Pancakes with Orange Maple Butter- Pure and Simple

Gluten Free Pancakes with Orange Maple Butter

Gluten Free Breakfast Cookie: Pure and Simple Gluten Free Breakfast Cookies

Potato and Egg Baskets Shared with:

*Life is Fantasmic: Saturday Dishes



Trio of Slow Cooker Holiday Dips:Pure and Simple

“Blessed is the season that engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” – Hamilton Wright Mabie

It is peaceful and quiet at Pure Grace Farms this morning. The sun is beginning to ease itself up over the lightly frosted hills. Clouds are gently brooding, gathering and forming. I hear them calling out to one another “don’t get left out,” “come and play.” I love that I have a front row seat to this wonderful performance. I am taking advantage of the calm before the storm, reveling in the warm up activities as the weather intensifies for a spectacular show. Artichoke- Parmesan Dip As a rule I am not fond of being the center of attention and prefer to linger somewhere on the edges of activity. Warm ups are necessary for me to fully engage in the happenings around me. Food is one of those ways that helps me to engage, my warm up so to speak.

White Bean and Garlic Dip This holiday season take a moment to reflect on whatever warms you up, what it is that helps you to fully engage with the people and happenings around you. Once you figure it out, go at it with all your might. Make this season one that is filled with a conspiracy of love in however you show it. The season will become much richer because of it. Green Chili and corn Dip  I decided to do a trio of slow cooker holiday dips for this post today in all honesty because I wanted to buy a TRU 3-Crock Buffet Slowcooker. So I did and gave myself an early Christmas present. I am so glad I did because these dips are delicious and so easy to make. I chose to make them light to cut down on a few calories when the taste and texture would not be affected.  

All 3-slow cooker holiday dips take only a few minutes to put together in the slow cookers giving you more time to focus on other things. Perfect when you are attempting to get everything just right for entertaining. 

Artichoke-Parmesan Dip

White Bean and Garlic Dip

Green Chili and corn Dip

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Whole Wheat Apple and Green Tomato Bread: Pure and Simple

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust

Today’s post was supposed to be a slam dunk. I had my recipe, fresh ingredients, and high hopes of beautiful pictures snapped perfectly, decorating my post like never before. The plan was perfectly formed in my mind, certainly nothing could go wrong. Whole Wheat Apple and Green Tomato Bread is bread is made with 100% white whole wheat flour but you would never know it by tasting it. This bread tastes even better the day after. Delicious! I waited to prepare my Green Tomato Cake until I was at my daughter’s home babysitting my grandson on my regular Tuesday morning. I specifically wanted to use her bundt pan. She graciously offered it for use anytime I might need it, just the week before. Now you must know, I covet her  bundt pan. It is modern, with all sorts of peaks and valleys in wonderful geometric patterns. It is much more interesting than the one I have had for decades, dull and a bit boring, but trustworthy. During the moments my grandson napped I chopped, grated, stirred and snapped pictures and then lovingly slid that beautiful bundt pan in the oven to bake for its allotted time Whole Wheat Apple and Green Tomato Bread is bread is made with 100% white whole wheat flour but you would never know it by tasting it. This bread tastes even better the day after. Delicious! Oh how beautiful that cake looked when I pulled it from the oven, perfectly browned with flecks of gold and green from the green tomatoes and raisins. I couldn’t wait to get that cake out of the pan and onto its pedestal that was waiting patiently, pleasingly aligned on the table for a picture perfect moment. Whole Wheat Apple and Green Tomato Bread is bread is made with 100% white whole wheat flour but you would never know it by tasting it. This bread tastes even better the day after. Delicious! I am sure you have guessed by now that the best laid plans sometimes go awry and pride definitely goes before a fall (I am sure I will get a prize for overusing metaphors here). Try as I may, I could not get that cake to budge even an inch out of that perfectly formed bundt pan. I am glad my grandson was sleeping because the few choice words I was using were not made for little boys ears. Whole Wheat Apple and Green Tomato Bread is bread is made with 100% white whole wheat flour but you would never know it by tasting it. This bread tastes even better the day after. Delicious! When that cake finally did release it came out in chunks and pieces that was enough to make this grown woman cry. What now am I to do? My post needs to be done. It is Tuesday after all, and that is what I do on Tuesdays. I post! Life as I know it will stop, the world will stop revolving and I will lose all credibility if my post isn’t on Tuesday. Whole Wheat Apple and Green Tomato Bread is bread is made with 100% white whole wheat flour but you would never know it by tasting it. This bread tastes even better the day after. Delicious! I discovered in that moment of raving lunacy that my life did not stop, the world kept revolving, and my credibility is most likely still intact. And with that discovery came a few new ideas that might not have been formed if I hadn’t taken the time to see with new eyes. Whole Wheat Apple and Green Tomato Bread is bread is made with 100% white whole wheat flour but you would never know it by tasting it. This bread tastes even better the day after. Delicious! Continuity is a great idea, but it is okay to throw in a bit of variety now and again. It spices things up and keeps you on your toes. A benefit from this mishap came with the idea of presenting 25 Days of Holiday Cookies with reflections on Christmas around the world, which will start on December 1st (God willing and the creek don’t rise).  I am excited  to share this time leading up to Christmas with you and hope it will be meaningful.

Today’s recipe as you can see is not the Green Tomato Bundt Cake I planned to make. You can find that recipe here . I couldn’t bring myself to try again. The Pure and Simple Whole Wheat Apple and Green Tomato Bread is a worthy and delicious replacement.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Click here for the recipe…