The perfect light and summery pasta salad – gemelli pasta tossed in a sweet lemon vinaigrette, asiago cheese and fresh basil!
Last week I went home to visit family and friends in New Jersey. My mom and I took a 45 minute trip to the closest Trader Joe’s. I think she thought I was going to go through withdrawal. We both decided to try their pre-made lemon basil pasta salad for lunch. It was SO good.
However, we looked at the ingredients on the back and saw it was loaded with ingredients. It also seemed a bit more processed than I prefer my food. Which is usually how it goes with pre-packaged meals. It has to stay good sitting on the shelf somehow. When I’m in a hurry I definitely don’t mind eating some pre-packaged things like this here and there. But with that being said, if I have the time.. I prefer homemade and fresh!
I knew I had to come home and immediately re-create it. The goal was to make it a bit more clean, fresh and use minimal ingredients. Gotta thank Trader Joe’s once again for this inspiration because this is my new favorite pasta salad recipe. I’ll being bringing it to every Summer BBQ.
I used Banza’s new gemelli pasta . If you’re unfamiliar with the brand Banza, they make pastas made from chick-peas. It has 2x the protein and 3x the fiber than regular pasta. Therefore, it’s healthy pasta which is basically a dream come true. However, if this isn’t your thing, feel free to use whatever pasta your heart desires. I do love the gemelli shapes though! Bow ties are also a favorite of mine.
This is a great end of the summer recipe! Perfect for Labor Day weekend or any BBQ’s you might have coming up. It’s insanely easy to whip up. I love how all the flavors really flow together in this recipe. The lemon, the basil, the asiago.. so light and delicious. In other words, you need to make it ASAP.Print 
8 oz. box of Banza gemelli pasta, or 8 oz. box of pasta of choice
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dijon
1 tsp red wine vinegar
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese, shredded parmesan would also work
1/2 cup basil, thinly sliced/chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to the instructions on the box. For pasta salad I prefer mine al dente so I go about 1 minute under the suggested cook time.
While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl whisk together the lemon vinaigrette ingredients by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, dijon, red wine vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Set aside.
When the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse the pasta with cold water.
In a large bowl add pasta and lemon vinaigrette. Mix to combine.
Add lemon zest, shredded cheese, and basil. Toss around. Taste and add more lemon juice/zest, salt and/or pepper if necessary.
Cover and refrigerate until it’s chilled enough for your liking! or eat right away if you can’t wait like me 😉