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Sophisticated, cool, light and delicious. A pasta salad you can proudly present at any barbeque or picnic. Sautéed courgettes (zucchini), refreshing cucumber, tasty smoked salmon and a light and fragrant dressing with Greek yogurt, horseradish and lemon.

I love this dish. I love pasta in general, but this is something quite special. It’s best served at room temperature or just barely warm, which makes it ideal for picnics on the beach, or garden barbeques, or light dinners on the verandah on warm summer nights. The flavours all complement each other perfectly, coming together to make a big bowl of deliciousness that you won’t want to share. I mean, smoked salmon with dill and lemon? Lightly sautéed courgettes and cucumbers with yogurt? The combination of all of these works brilliantly.

If you need another motive to try this out, check out the instructions. It’s a throw-together kind of dish that takes just minutes to prepare. Plus, it tastes better when it’s had a chance to sit for a while. And what does that mean? Yes, the perfect make-ahead pasta salad.

So what’s your favourite pasta salad?


250gr pasta (penne works well)

salt to boil pasta

1 tsp + 3 Tbs olive oil

200gr courgette (zucchini), thinly sliced

200gr cucumber (English, sometimes called seedless)

100gr (7 Tbs) Greek yogurt

30gr (2 Tbs + 1 tsp) mayonnaise

2 tsp prepared horseradish (from a jar)

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

3 Tbs lemon juice, freshly sqeezed

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lemon pepper or regular black pepper

1/8 tsp sugar

1 Tbs dill weed, finely chopped

200gr smoked salmon, cut into strips

Step 1

Boil the pasta in salted water according to package instructions. You want it al dente.

Step 2

Sautee the courgette (zucchini) in the one teaspoon of olive oil in a non stick pan on medium/low heat, for 6-8 minutes or until soft but not browned.

Step 3

Prepare the cucumber. Slice it in half lengthways and with a spoon scrape out the middle section where the seeds are. This is strongly advised so that the salad doesn’t become watery later on. Chop into slices (which will look like little C shapes) and set aside.

Step 4

In a large mixing bowl put the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, horseradish, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, sugar and dill. Whisk till smooth.

Step 5

Add the cucumber and sautéed zucchini to the dressing and mix well.

Step 6

Add a tablespoon of the pasta water to the bowl and mix well. Drain the pasta and add it to the mixture. Stir gently. Finally, add the smoked salmon and mix till just distributed evenly. Taste the salad and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Note: I am using weight measurements for the zucchini and cucumber because this is the most accurate way to give the amounts. Vegetables can vary hugely in size from country to country (even within the same country) so there is no point in saying one medium or two small etc.
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