Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. As a little girl, school was out, everything was a little relaxed, I could stay up late to watch any and all firework displays (and in the city of brotherly love the 4th was a big deal). And it was around this time we had block parties on our street. Somehow the adults got permission to block off the street so no one could drive down it. Everyone brought their grills from the backyard to the front sidewalk. And us kids played every game we could think of like Hide & Go butter bee, Hide & Seek, Double Dutch, we’d have Uno and Acey Duecy tournaments and any other game that lends itself to 20+ kids playing together.
Food was usually a simple fare burgers, hot dogs, chicken, sometimes steamed crabs and lots of fruit. These days I love bringing vinaigrette based pasta salads. I know a lot more vegetarians and pescatarians these days and want to make sure they eat well too. And if I could find or create more recipes that taste as good as this I’d consider pescatarianism at the very least.
And the cool thing about pasta salad is you can totally personalize it. My husband hates bell peppers so they can be taken out. I love onions and garlic and tend to add them in everything. Fresh squeezed lemon juice or lemon zest brighten up everything in my opinion so it’s always an ingredient. And everyone knows I love crabs. So if it’s possible I’m adding it to a recipe. Prefer lobster or shrimp? Swap it out. The only thing you need to be aware of is having enough vinaigrette to adequately coat all the ingredients. If you stick with these ratios you should be good but you can always double or triple the vinaigrette recipe if you find your ingredients list is getting kind of big 😀
So make a bowl of this amazingly fresh summer pasta salad and serve at your next 4th of July bash!
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- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
- 2 tbsp honey (we use Orange Blossom flavored local honey)
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- Salt & pepper
- Kosher/sea salt
- 2 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1/2 lb pasta, such as campanelle, cavatappi or tortiglioni
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 oz baby spinach or arugula
- 1 small bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and very thinly sliced (red, yellow or orange)
- 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 4 oz crumbled feta
- 1lb king crab legs
- 2 tbsp old bay (optional)
- Combine lemon juice, mustard, shallots, honey and lemon zest in a bowl and set aside for 5. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil. Add in dill, and stir to combine. Season with 3/4 tsp and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Taste and adjust honey and lemon juice to your taste.
- Over high heat, get a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Put the corn in a metal strainer/small colander and dip it into the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Remove corn,rinse under cold water, draw well and place in a bowl to let cool.
- *At this point you can add the crab legs to the water to heat through. I prefer to steam mine with a little old bay seasoning in a separate pot*
- Bring water back to a boil and add pasta. Cook to al dente. Drain well and toss with olive oil set aside to cool (if I'm really hungry, I put the pasta and corn in the fridge for 10 minutes to speed cooling)
- In a large bowl combine pasta, corn, spinach/arugula, and the vinaigrette. Stir to combine. Add cheese, the red onion and crabmeat and stir gently. Let stand for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!