Saturday, March 27, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

After being blessed with such beautiful spring weather this past week, I knew it was time to start firing up the grill. There is nothing better than fresh vegetables on the grill. Normally we chop up some peppers, onions and zucchini, toss them in a little EVOO, salt and pepper, wrap them in foil and throw them on. They make a great side to a delicious steak or BBQ chicken. But for this dish, the veggies are taking center stage. Tossed with whole wheat pasta and some light dressing, this dish makes a perfect meal for those perfect summer nights.

Makes 4-6 Servings

1 lb. WHOLE WHEAT penne pasta
2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2 thick wedges
1 lb. asparagus spears, trimmed
1 sweet green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut in half
2 sweet red peppers, cored, seeded and cut in half
1-1/4 cup FAT FREE Vidalia salad dressing
10 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and cut into thin strips
salt to taste


In a baking dish, toss the vegetables with 1 cup of dressing. Place in the refrigerator for one hour.

While veggies are marinating, cook pasta and heat up the grill.

Working in batches, grill the peppers, asparagus and onion (3 minutes on each side). Veggies should still be firm.

Remove the vegetables from the grill and cut into large pieces.

In a large bowl or serving platter, toss the veggies and pasta together. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of dressing. Toss in the basil leaves. Serve at room temperature.


It was just as delicious and refreshing as I had hoped. Sometimes my body just craves fresh veggies. When the weather turns warmer, I tend to favor lighter dishes such as this. Well, this one hit the spot! Now, if you read my comments on the veggie quesadillas from a couple months ago, then you know that hubby doesn't take kindly to meals lacking in the meat department. So, to satisfy my caveman's husband's appetite, I added some grilled chicken.

For the chicken, I pounded it thin and seasoned it with a little of Paula's House Seasoning. I sliced the chicken into strips, then tossed the strips in with the pasta and veggies. Simple and delish!

If you are not a fan of Vidalia dressing, another suggestion would be a fat free Italian. The next time I make this dish, I am going to give the Italian a try.

Overall, this recipe is easy, fresh, light and delicious. It doesn't get much better than that!

Check out Paula's original recipe here.


  1. This sounds great... A vegetable grilling pan (pan with a whole bunch of holes in it) would make very quick work of the cooking veggies. Any of the big hardware stores (I like Lowe's) stocks them, around $15, and you will grill veggies every time you fire up the grill. easy and fast

  2. Hi,
    Stopping by from SITS today. Neat idea, because one thing I always think when I see Paula Deen is how her food sounds yummy but not exactly good for the waistline. Oh, and I just watched Julie and Julia the other day too, so cooking is on the brain. Cute blog!




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