Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thai Pasta Toss with Chili, Lime and Sea Salt

There’s an old, honest saying that goes, “Most of the world eats to live, but Italians live to eat”  The thing that I like most about Italian cooking is how simple and fast it is. With only a few, quality ingredients you can create fabulous dinners. This recipe uses the Italian principles of keeping things fresh and basic, but with a a little twist on the traditional basil and lemon.

Here, I toss green veggies, chili, Thai basil and lime with elbow shaped pasta. The dish can be finished with a flurry of grated Parmesan and a sprinkle of sea salt. 

Salt, chili and lime are a classic combo. They work well in this recipe, creating a feisty, healthy and unexpected weeknight pasta toss. It’ll help you get out of a boring broccoli rut.
Any kind of pasta will work here. If you’re gluten free, corn pasta is a particularly good choice. If you don’t like zucchini then replace it with more broccoli. It’s good hot, cold and at room temperature.
My coworkers tell me they make this recipe all the time. They particularly like the fresh, lively taste. The recipe is also featured on Healthy Aperture.


pasta toss

Thai Pasta Toss Recipe

serves 4
Some Notes
This dish is delicious with strong, peppery Thai basil. But regular basil, chives or scallions are also welcome.
Thai bird’s eye chili peppers are very spicy. I adore them! They have faint tropical notes. They come in red and green. I find them in Asian markets and even my regular supermarket. Use whatever hot chili pepper floats your boat.
  • 16-ounces or one box of medium sized pasta. Penne, shells or spirals are all good choices.
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 3 medium size zucchini, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 jalapeno pepper or two-three tiny Thai bird’s-eye green chili peppers, diced. Remove the seeds and veins if you don’t want it too spicy.
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced (optional). I use a microplane grater for this or use a garlic press.
  • 2 limes. Zest them and reserve the zest.
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking, plus more for drizzling
  • To Serve: Thai basil or regular basil, lime wedges, Parmesan, flaky sea salt or grey celtic sea salt
Put the peas in the same colander that will be used to drain the pasta.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Toward the end of cooking throw in the broccoli and cook it with the pasta until the pasta is done. You can chop the broccoli before you add it to the pasta pot, but I find it works better to leave it whole and chop it later. You can also steam the broccoli in a separate pot.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a nonstick saute or frying pan. I use my wonderful, eco-friendly nonstick Scanpan for this. Add the jalapeno or Thai peppers and cook until soft. Add the zucchini, some salt and half the lime zest. Saute the zucchini until tender crisp. Stir in the minced garlic (if using) and toss it with the zucchini to warm it through.
Drain the pasta and broccoli over the peas in the colander. Remove broccoli and chop into small pieces. Toss all the ingredients together, adding the remaining lime zest, a drizzle of more olive oil and some squeezes of fresh lime juice. Serve with lime wedges on the side a, sprinkle on the Parmesan (if using) sea salt and basil. Enjoy!


  1. Made this over the weekend and it was delicious! Loved the fresh tastes of lime and citrus with pasta and cheese.

  2. Thanks Tina, I'm so glad you liked it! I'm a fan of light, fresh tasting pasta dishes. I always keep limes and lemons in my fridge. They elevate the flavors of so many dishes! Thanks for leaving a comment. ;)