Raw vegetables and a spicy basil pesto vinaigrette that tastes like summer makes this Tuscan kale, bell pepper, zucchini, and tomato pasta salad the perfect warm weather meal.
tuscan kale, bell pepper, zucchini, and tomato pasta salad with basil pesto vinaigrette

Remember that time I got home from Italy, swore off pasta, and then volunteered to make pasta salad for the 4th of July two days later?

I was possessed.

It’s the only explanation.


But really, what was I thinking swearing off pasta?!?!?

Obviously, I was under the impression that I am a much stronger willed person than I actually am.

Or I was just experiencing vacation withdrawal induced delusions.

One of the two.


To be fair, this is more like salad with some pasta thrown in for good measure and mass appeal than it is actual pasta.

So I could see how I could be confused.

Filled with every farmer’s market veggie under the sun in raw, unadulterated, finely diced form, this salad is pretty much the picture of summer spirit (aka intense laziness that makes you not want to turn on the oven) and is done in as much time as it takes to boil water.

A jazzed up basil pesto vinaigrette that’s laced with harissa for some secret spice gets into all of its crevices and keeps things interesting.


Everyone (veggie haters included!!) kept going back for seconds at our 4th of July fiesta and it was all I could do to not snatch the pasta bowl from their hands and elope with it. I’m sure sharing is caring in most cases, but not when it comes between me and pasta salad leftovers. At least not when they taste this good.


Tuscan Kale, Bell Pepper, Zucchini, and Tomato Pasta Salad with Basil Pesto Vinaigrette
Raw vegetables and a spicy basil pesto vinaigrette that tastes like summer makes this Tuscan kale, bell pepper, zucchini, and tomato pasta salad the perfect warm weather meal.
Yield: 6-8 servings
For the basil pesto vinaigrette
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp harissa
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the pasta salad
  • 1 lb farfalle
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and shredded
  • ¾ lb ciliegine (mini mozzarella balls), cut into 6ths
  1. For the basil pesto vinaigrette, combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until chopped into very small pieces. With the food processor still running, add in the olive oil, harissa, and lemon juice and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain well.
  3. Toss the pasta with the bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and kale. Stir in the dressing and mozzarella balls, until combined. Serve warm or at room temperature.
An Eats Well With Others Original
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl

Pasta salad love!

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41 Responses to Tuscan Kale, Bell Pepper, Zucchini, and Tomato Pasta Salad with Basil Pesto Vinaigrette

  1. Such vibrant colours! Absolutely love the idea of adding harissa to the vinaigrette. 🙂

  2. Krista says:

    Swearing off pasta NEVER sounds like a good idea to me. 🙂 This sounds marvelous!!

  3. Monica says:

    This looks irresistible! I love all the components you have going on! And you can’t possibly swear off pasta!! ; ) It just ties everything together.

  4. Where was this for my 4th of July weekend? Keep the veggie-full recipes coming. I have loads of CSA veggies that need inspiration!

  5. Great timing – I can make this with some of our CSA veggies this week. Looks like an amazing, easy meal!

  6. You were clearly still under the influence. It looks so good!

  7. I can use my lemon basil with that viniagrette recipe!!! 100% trying this! And yeah, swearing off pasta is like swearing off ice cream. NEVER HAPPENING.

  8. Julia says:

    This takes the cake for healthful and flavor-infused pasta salads! I’m loving all the farm-fresh greenages, and that basil pesto vinaigrette is sheer genius! I’m envisioning putting myself in a pasta coma with these noods, no.shame.in.it 😉

  9. I love pastas where you throw in this and that and end up with a medley of veggie goodness. Plus, pesto makes everything better 🙂

  10. Sues says:

    Swearing off pasta will only make you want it more! This looks like perfection 🙂

  11. Heather says:

    I could never swear off pasta… never, ever, ever. Love the massive amounts of veggies in this!

  12. Marcia says:

    Wow, this looks amazingly delicious. I made a pesto pasta thing this weekend (not as many veggies – in fact I put my veggies into a different salad), and both went really really fast.

  13. Only you can make a vegetarian meal look this GOOD!

  14. cheri says:

    Hi Joanne, there are so many great veggies in this, love this combo!

  15. I honestly never thought pairing kale with pasta would be as good as pairing spinach with pasta, but I stand corrected. There’s just something about this dish that makes me happy. I love this.

  16. I could never swear off pasta! Love this combination of flavors!

  17. I love how colorful this pasta is! All those vibrant veggies and pesto make the carbs worth it.

  18. Eileen says:

    Personally, I can’t think of a reason to ever swear off pasta — especially when it’s this fantastically crammed with all the best veg of summer! NOM.

  19. Kelly says:

    I could never swear off pasta if it looked this fabulous! Love the pesto with all the summery veggies in here!

  20. tigerfish says:

    Love this colorful and appetizing one-dish meal salad 🙂

  21. Asha says:

    Vibrant beautiful colors and flavors. Your recipes amaze me every time.
    Pasta like this, I could eat everyday.

  22. I love that basil vinaigrette! So yum, pinning 🙂

  23. Lynn says:

    Yes – I want some of this right now! I’ll be trying this out.

  24. Ala says:

    Hehe–happens all the time. I think I could swear off pasta for about two seconds, max. I do love salads with pasta thrown in though–and FRESH veggies, whoo! My tummy’s grumbling at me 🙁

  25. Christine says:

    I can see why everyone loved this salad. Bookmarked!

  26. Reeni says:

    My summer hasn’t had enough pasta salads in it! I love the sound of this one! All those veggies smothered in pesto. Yes, please.

  27. Mira says:

    Loving these veggies! Perfect, pinned!

  28. Kate says:

    Even vegans don’t swear off pasta!

  29. No, no, no! NEVER swear off pasta!!! Haha! Glad you came to your senses! 😉 This looks delicious!

  30. easypeasy says:

    Yeah we can’t swear off pasta either it’s soooo good. Love how you throw in all those veggies! It sounds great 🙂

  31. Veronica says:

    So I guess pasta salad is considered a side dish, but this I would make my meal. Wow.

  32. It’s far too cold here to think about salad. But as a hot pasta dish, this would work for me right now 🙂

  33. Yum! I love how you have taken pasta and made it so perfect for summer.

  34. Its Summer! and this salad is totally screaming it!! such a vibrant and delicious pasta salad. Love the basil pesto vinaigrette!! Total YUMM! 🙂

  35. Sarah says:

    One of the best parts of coming back from a trip is making ALL the dishes inspired by the trip!! Crossing my fingers for more pasta recipes coming our way 😉

  36. Elizabeth says:

    Wow this looks so good! I love how fresh this recipe looks!

  37. Johanna GGG says:

    ah so your special diet trick was to make it taste so good that everyone else would eat most of it and you would hardly be able to taste it – cunning indeed!

  38. elly says:

    Harissa in a basil vinaigrette is sort of genius.

  39. […] Tuscan Kale, Bell Pepper, Zucchini & Tomato Pasta Salad with Basil Pesto Vinaigrette from Joanne Eats Well With Others […]

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