food,  local,  recipes

How to Use Your CSA Veggies in One Dish

Image by Paul Grant

Yesterday I picked up my bi-weekly CSA basket, weighed down with beautiful, fresh veggies from Vermont Valley Community Farm. I’m going on vacation soon, though, and needed to think of a way to use them all quickly. The answer? Pasta salad. It’s one of those “kitchen sink” dishes that allows you to toss a lot of ingredients into it without much thought. I made a boatload of it–enough for 16 friends with whom I’ll be renting cabins over the Labor Day weekend.  Here’s what went into it–these items  just happened to be what I had around the house, but can easily be substituted with other, similar ingredients.


  • 2 one-pound boxes of rotini pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 one-pound box of farfalle pasta, cooked and drained
  • 20 heirloom tomatoes, assorted varieties, chopped
  • 3 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 fresh banana pepper, chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • 2 heads of steamed broccoli, tops only, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped and sauteed
  • 1 package of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • Lots of olive oil
  • a few splashes of balsalmic vinegar
  • Loads of fresh oregano leaves
  • Loads of fresh basil, chopped
  • garlic powder to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste
  • 4 TB Penzey’s pasta sprinkle (one of my favorite go-to spices)
  • 4 TB Italian dressing base (I used Penzey’s, but Good Seasons or any similar dry base would work)

I tossed all of these ingredients into some mammoth-sized Tupperware containers and shook them up to distribute the spices and oil. Now I’ve got a fuss-free quick meal or snack for a weekend on the lake. Sorry for the non-precise measurements like “loads.” A pasta salad like this calls for estimation and experimentation. Have a great holiday weekend, everyone.