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Carol Kicinski
Minestrone doesn’t just have to be a soup. In fact, it is the inspiration for this fresh, summer pasta salad.

Minestrone: from soup to summer salad

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    I know that minestrone is a soup. It is a lovely soup. And I love soup. But I also love salad so I thought “minestrone salad – why not?” Why not indeed!
   This gluten free soup-turned-salad recipe takes advantage of the abundance of summer vegetables available right now. Zucchini, corn, tomatoes, and basil – does it get any more summery than that?
   Since this pasta salad is mayonnaise-free, it is good for taking to cookouts and picnics without the fear of poisoning your diners. It can be served right after making (great for a quick mid-week meal) or you can make it ahead of time and serve it chilled.
   This recipe makes a ton of salad, so if you don’t have a crowd to feed, feel free to cut the recipe in half. But you should know that it tastes even better the day after you make it
Gluten Free Summer Minestrone Pasta Salad
Serves 8 to 10
1 pound brown rice vegetable rotini pasta
2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup olive oil
1 yellow or white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 cans white or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 cup basil leaves

    Cook the pasta in heavily salted water according to the package directions. Rinse the pasta first with hot water and then with cold water. Set aside.
    Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion and cook until it starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds then add the zucchini and corn kernels. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp yet tender.
    Put the pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked vegetables, tomatoes, rinsed beans, salt, pepper, vinegar and remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Toss well. Tear the basil leaves and add them to the salad and toss again. Serve immediately or chilled.
or the day after that. It is great as a side to roasted chicken, burgers or what not and also makes for a lovely vegan main dish.
I like to use rotini pasta because I love the way the veggies nestle into the
curlicues of the pasta. You can use a different type of gluten free pasta if you like, such as elbow noodles or bowtie pasta.
So who says minestrone can only be soup? Not me!