Summer Pasta Salad

Good Morning Thursday!  Being down and out at the beginning of this week has made the rest of the week just fly by, and it’s almost the weekend again.  Saturday is supposed to be my first 5k.  With surgery only a week behind me, I should probably just say no to that whole idea. But it is a possibility.  My doctor said that if I’m feeling up to it and if it doesn’t hurt all that bad then by all means, do it.  So tomorrow I think I’ll attempt to run a test mile and decide then.  Luckily this is just a free fun run, so if I end up crawling walking to the finish line, I won’t be too disappointed.  Now I do have another 5k on May 12th that I plan to be much more ready for.

And can I just say it again – Utah’s weather is so bi-polar!  One day it’s a high of 60, and the next, we’re hitting 85 degrees!  The beginning of this week has been so blazin’ hot, and I’ve been scrambling to come up with some easy warm-weather dinners.  One of the worst things in the world is having to drive home in 90 degree weather only to have to stand in the kitchen with the oven and/or stove on.  I basically cook with a fan blowing on me the whole time, and that’s fairly annoying.  So if anyone has some good ideas (that would also make good leftovers for lunch the next day) for summer dinners, that would be helpful!  I’m just so much more of a wintery comfort food, warm-you-from-the-inside kinda girl.

I was able to come up with at least one dish that didn’t require too much stove time.  Just enough to boil the pasta for nine minutes.  This cold pasta is full of flavor and freshness, and it basically screams summertime.  The tomatoes, basil, corn, and hint of lemon are such fresh summery flavors that I was cooled right down from the warm temps going on outside.

My goal this summer is to get my 5 year old to like tomatoes.  He’s so picky about so many things these days, and tomatoes happen to be one of them.  I thought the sweetness of a grape tomato would help, and he did at least choke one down try one, but he still wasn’t pleased.   I personally love these little gems and could eat the whole bin of them.  I remember as a kid biting into one and the juices just squirting all over the place, not realizing you really have to put the whole thing in your mouth at once to avoid this sort of situation.  Oops!

Can I also tell you another little secret about me in the kitchen?  I am really horrible at chopping onions!  I don’t get it.  It’s something I do just about every day of my life.  Onions go in almost every dinner I make.  Yet, the practice just doesn’t seem to be doing me any good.  I remember in high school wanting to make dinner for my family while my mom was at work.  Looking at the directions, I was instructed to chop an onion.  I looked at the darn thing and realized that I had no idea how to do that.  So I called my mom. “Mom… Can you teach me how to cut an onion over the phone?”  Ha!  Maybe that’s the problem.  My only instructions for cutting an onion have been over the phone.  I make do, and the onion gets chopped, but it’s not pretty, and I’m surprised I haven’t lost any digits yet!  Maybe it’s about time I watch some tutorials or something because this is getting serious, and just a bit embarrassing.  And I call myself a cook!

Well, enough of that.  Before you start doubting my abilities, I present to you a deliciously cool solution to summer dinners.  This would also be really yummy to take to one of the many BBQ’s and potlucks you are invited to this summer.  Do it!

Summer Pasta Salad


  • 8 ounces orzo pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • About 1 tsp. salt
  • About 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (sliced from 2 ears of corn – or just one can of corn if it hasn’t hit your produce/farmer’s market just yet)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced, rinsed, and thoroughly dried (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (for a vegetarian option, I used Morningstar’s breaded chick’n patties, diced up)
  • 1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves


Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender to the bite, 9 to 12 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water until completely cool. I added a couple ice cubes to the water to speed up the cooling process, and then drained once cooled.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, sour cream, lemon zest and juice, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  This makes a deliciously creamy dressing to coat your summer pasta.

In a large bowl, toss together pasta, corn, red onion, chicken, tomatoes, and basil. Add ricotta-lemon dressing to pasta mixture and stir to evenly coat pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve along side some fresh veggies.  I’m in love with asparagus, especially the way I decided to cook it last night.  I plan on sharing that soon!  My son even loved it!




    • Holly says

      You are very welcome! Summertime dinners are really hard to come by I’ve noticed, so I’m always on the lookout as well.

  1. Lloyd Levasseur says

    This recipe is delicious! I couldn’t stop licking the spoon as I was making it. I too am a really big lemon fan, so this totally hit the spot. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Holly says

      Lloyd! I’m so happy you came by to check out my site. Even happier that you tried out a recipe and loved it. I think I need to make this one again soon!


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