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Lemon Basil Pasta Salad

This is one of my favorite original recipes I’ve come up with.  It started as a need for a dish at a potluck or block party or something.  It was the dead of summer, and temperatures were in 110’s.  It was way too hot for anything with mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurt, or the like.  I didn’t want anything heavy, or too spicy either.  This was also when I was in a phase of trying to cook with 5 ingredients or less (salt and pepper not included).  I figured a pasta salad, with a bright citrus dressing could really be something.

So here it is:

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad

  • 1 Package Bowtie Pasta
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 Bunch Basil
  • 1 Pint Grape Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil

Boil the pasta per the directions on the package.

Remove zest from both lemons.

I use a micro plane and I love it.  But you can also use those fancy zesters they sell.

Get all the zest from both lemons.  This is where all the flavor is.

Juice both lemons.  Make sure to strain out the seeds.

Slice your grape tomatoes in half.  If you decide to use cherry tomatoes cut them in quarters.  Rome Tomatoes, in 8th.  Vine tomatoes in 16th.  You get it.  Make em bite size.

Chiffonade your basil.  Chiffo-whatnow?  Chiffonade.  A technique in which herb are cut into long, thin strips.  STart by pinching the leaves from the stem.  Stack the leaves on top of each other, with the largest on the bottom, and the smallest on top.

Roll the stack of leaves up, like a tight cigar.

Then slice narrow strips across the cigar.  You’ll end up with little ribbons of basil as they uncurl.

Place the lemon juice in a mason jar.  Add olive oil to your liking.  I find that most dressing recipes call for more oil than vinegar.  I prefer mine the opposite way.  I usually do about 2 parts acid to 1 part oil.  That’s a good ratio for this recipe too.  You can even do 3 parts acid to 1 part oil here.  The idea is to have a bright, refreshing salad.  Not a thick, heavy, oil laden dish.  Add a liberal amount of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Add your lemon zest.

Now, for my favorite life hack of 2010.  I don’t understand how this never occurred to me before.  Take your blender blade and base, and screw it on to the mason jar.  That’s right.  Blender bases were intentionally designed to fit regular mouth mason jars.  Mind boggling.

But your jar on your blender and blend into an emulsion.  If you don’t have a mason jar, or a blender (weirdo), then you could use an immersion blender, or a whisk if you’re super old school.  If that’s the case, start with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Drizzle the oil slowly as you whisk.  You want the dressing to emulsify.

Drain the pasta, and rinse in cold water.

Toss the pasta in cold water to properly cool it.

Toss the pasta, tomato, basil, and dressing together.  Enjoy.

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3 Responses to “Lemon Basil Pasta Salad”


  1. 1 tasteofbeirut March 27, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Fantastic salad! When the weather is scorching hot I can’t think of anything better to eat! (along with a bowl of tabbouleh salad!)

  2. 2 ig February 19, 2016 at 12:57 am

    I am in fact grateful to the owner of this
    web page who has shared this wonderful piece of writing
    at at this time.


  1. 1 Plum Chutney | Mason Jars and Mixing Bowls Trackback on July 27, 2015 at 10:55 pm

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