Ever since corn came into season, I've been incorporating it into almost all of my salads. There's just nothing like naturally sweet corn. Pair that corn with sweet zucchini and you have one great combination. Now take those two ingredients, toss in some pasta, chickpeas, mozzarella, and a creamy basil lime dressing, and you have one winning charred corn and zucchini pasta salad! A fantastic side to any summer barbecue.
Charred Corn and Zucchini Pasta Salad
Creamy basil lime dressing
- ½ cup Greek yogurt plain
- ½ cup fresh basil
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoon tahini
- juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper
Charred corn and zucchini pasta salad
- 8 ounces short grain pasta such as macaroni, small shells, rotini, etc
- ¼ cup oil
- 2 zucchini sliced into ¼ thick slices
- 2 corn on the cob shucked
- 14 ounces canned chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 4 ounces mozzarella pearls
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- salt and pepper
- Make the creamy basil lime dressing. Blend together the yogurt with basil, garlic, olive oil, water, tahini, and juice of 1 lime until smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- Heat ¼ cup olive in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook the zucchini until caramelized on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- In the same pan, cook the corn until charred, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- Gently toss together the pasta with the zucchini, corn, and chickpeas with the creamy basil lime dressing until well combined. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the mozzarella pearls and fresh basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I'm one of those people who dislikes mayonnaise. It's fine in small amounts but if something is covered in mayo, I'll turn it away. The same goes for pasta salads. So in a way, you can almost say that this charred corn and zucchini pasta salad is healthy, which is always a good thing, right?
Since we're avoiding mayonnaise but still need a creamy element for the dressing, we're going to use plain Greek yogurt. I love the tang that yogurt gives while still providing that richness.
Blend together the yogurt with fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, tahini, and lime juice until smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper and set it aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Next, cook a short-grain pasta such as macaroni, small shells, or rotini until tender. Drain the pasta and shock it in cold water to prevent it from keep cooking. You can also drizzle a tablespoon of oil on the pasta to prevent them from sticking to one another.
Meanwhile, cook the zucchini in a large saute pan until browned on both sides. In the same pan, saute the corn until charred. Season both vegetables with salt and pepper and toss it together with the cooked pasta and creamy basil lime dressing.
Make sure to taste the pasta and season accordingly. You'll most likely need more salt and pepper since the pasta wasn't seasoned yet.
Finish the pasta salad with fresh mozzarella pearls and fresh basil and serve it warm or at room temperature.
This charred corn and zucchini pasta salad is a simple dish that allows the corn and zucchini to sing. The dressing is a great accompaniment to the sweet vegetables and the fresh mozzarella adds a bit more savoriness to the dish. A great side dish to almost any meal!
For more side dish inspiration check out these Cajun spiced potato wedges!