This pasta salad screams summer! Lemon Broccoli Pasta is a bright, bold, and refreshing pasta dish with budget-friendly ingredients. Dressed in an oil-based sauce with sun dried tomatoes, this salad is tossed with blanched broccoli and lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
LEMON BROCCOLI PASTA
The long days of summer are close at hand, and this summer, I intend to make the most out of it! Because of the pandemic, we will spend most of our time at home, just like everyone else. I’m hoping to incorporate some outdoorsy, backyard things into our weekends. Summer fun means summer food. These foods need to be wholesome and hearty, yet light and refreshing. This Lemon Broccoli Pasta fits the bill!
Before we bought a rural home, we lived primarily in Toronto. Living in a large city, more particularly, an apartment building on a busy street, getting out of the thick of things and into a little bit of nature is important. We really didn’t do it as often as we should have! Now, we split our time between them both. And, our backyard is perfect for picnicking, so I must get out there more this summer!
PICNICS CAN BE SO MUCH FUN!
The last time we were on a picnic, I packed up an olive-oil based pasta salad in mason jars as well as grilled vegetable pressed sandwiches. Along with some veggies, cold drinks, and fresh-baked cookies for dessert. It turned out to be quite the meal! There’s just something really neat about eating outside near the water; fighting with the pigeons and seagulls to stay away from your picnic table, and of course, good company.
Scarborough Bluffs, which is just east of Toronto, is a great place to picnic. There are walking trails that wind around the water’s edge with picnic tables and outdoor barbecues randomly placed about. There are lots of shaded areas if that’s your thing. And, when you’re done with your picnic, you can take your things back to your car and take a long walk on the beach to soak up some of the sun.
The last time we were there, we brought a kite which made for a very fun afternoon. All three of us took turns flying a Star Wars kite. Either we looked poor and desperate with the one kite between us, or we looked like we were having a blast. Truthfully, it was one of the best days that summer.
YOU DON’T NEED A BEACH; A CITY PARK WILL DO JUST FINE
I often see picnickers close to where we live. Just south of us, there’s a beautiful open area with fantastic views of the city. Riverdale Park is highly visited and can be quite crowded and touristy, so if you’re going to visit, please don’t do so on a long weekend if you plan on quiet time.
Weekday evenings throughout the summer are a great time to visit. Grab a cold drink from a nearby coffee shop and sit at the top of the hill and watch the world go by, or take a walk along a path that leads over the highway into a very wooded area which hosts a small farm. By the way, if you’re in the Toronto area, there’s some great ice cream to be had just north of the petting farm!
MAKING THE BEST PICNIC PASTA
For this particular recipe, I decided to use simple ingredients. Broccoli was a must for a few reasons. First, I knew it would hold up well in the salad. Secondly, it added fresh taste and a slight crunch factor. Finally, it added colour, and more importantly, it added broccoli! John.e loves broccoli and cannot get enough of it. Anytime I can use it in a recipe, I know the recipe will be well received!
Next, I needed to add depth. Sun dried tomatoes have such a unique flavour – they’re chewy, tomato-y , and salty. The simple addition of olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, and parmesan cheese rounded out the entire salad.
Lemon Broccoli Pasta is not only delicious, affordable, and portable, but also most certainly will be the highlight of any intimate family picnic, or your annual summer family reunion. Make a large batch and share with your friends. A picnic in the park is a great way to see the people you care about while maintaining some social distancing.
PICNIC DESSERT IDEAS
No picnic is complete without dessert. Now, there’s no way you can bring a beautiful dessert masterpiece to the park, but you can bring cookies and bars. Cookies are common and you can find recipes everywhere! But, why not make something special? Try my Apple Shortbread Bars. Cut them at home and wrap each bar individually in parchment paper.
My absolutely delicious cinnamon rolls would be a great dessert option too. They’re not too sweet, and they’re not topped with icing, which makes them easy to wrap and won’t leave you with sticky fingers in the park!
Finally, if chocolate is a must, try my Chocolate Brownie Cookies. You get all of that chocolatey, brownie goodness in cookie form. They’re great for a picnic, because they are soft and moist, but not gooey and sticky.
Lemon Broccoli Pasta
- 450 grams pasta cooked, drained, and cooled
- 4 cups broccoli florets,
- 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup olive oil (see notes)
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or very finely minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside to cool.
- Add 6 cups of water to a pot, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well. To stop the broccoli from getting soft, submerge the blanched broccoli into ice water for three minutes. Drain well and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, onion powder, dried oregano, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the ground black pepper.
- Transfer the cooled pasta, prepared broccoli, and chopped sun dried tomatoes to a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss well to coat.
- Add in the parmesan cheese and the parsley. Toss to coat once more.
- Serve immediately or store in a food safe container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- When ready to serve, toss, and top with parmesan cheese for garnish.