Finally, a sunny day after a long week of rainy days. I thought I’d celebrate with some bright colors of my own by making a big bowl of Greek Pasta Salad.
Delicious, quick, easy, affordable, and healthy. Hard to beat that! And try it with some pita bread.
And you know I love dishes which I can pull together from a trip to the local farmers market and some odds and ends out of the pantry.
So I started with a fairly typical and common Greek dressing. I pulverized a good-sized clove of fresh garlic with a mortar and pestle. Then a good amount of dried oregano, a bit of salt and pepper, and some red wine vinegar which I ground as well so the oregano would release some of its oils. Lastly, a healthy dose of good extra-virgin olive oil.
I’ll confess, I treated myself to a nice mortar and pestle last year, an Emile Henry, and it gives me joy. I hope an heirloom to hand down someday. I believe you cook more with the gear you love.
By the way, if you want to use lemon juice instead of vinegar then go for it! Either way is great.
Set the dressing aside and move on to the salad.
I used an organic tricolor (tomato and spinach) fusili from Italy. That sounds super fancy and posh but I got a bunch of it at Costco. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. For this, I used half of the package or about 8 ounces. Cook your pasta in well-salted water according to the package directions for al dente, drain it — don’t rinse it! — and let it cool.
A good Greek salad is a story of some knife work. But don’t worry, there’s no time limit and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Make sure your knife is sharp and you’re halfway home.
If you don’t have (or like) toasted pumpkin seeds then try some toasted walnuts or pecans.
Just look at those ingredients!
I diced half a cucumber. I sliced the red onion razor thin. And the red bell pepper got sliced thin as well.
Then I halved the little cherry tomatoes and quartered the big ones. These are from a local farm whom we’ve grown to love because you can taste the great care they invest. (We have a bunch of local farmers like that. I’ll be sad when the market closes for the season.)
Once the pasta’s cooled, toss everything together in a big bowl.
Personally, I keep the feta cheese, kalamata olives, and freshly toasted pumpkin seeds to top it all. I don’t mix them in. But you can if you want! I think the salad keeps a bit better and longer in the refrigerator if you keep them separate.
Greek Pasta Salad
Greek Pasta Salad is an easy, healthy, and affordable side dish or starter that can be made ahead of time and keeps well in the refrigerator. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or white or balsamic)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces pasta
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 red bell pepper or green, yellow, orange if you prefer
- feta cheese
- kalamata olives, pitted
Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and let cool.
Crush the garlic with a mortar and pestle. Add the oregano, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Continue to grind those ingredients. Finally, add the olive oil and mix well. Set aside.
Dice the cucumber.
Slice the red onion thin.
Slice the bell pepper thin and then halve.
Quarter the larger tomatoes, halve the small ones.
Mix everything together well in a large bowl.
Top with the feta, peperoncinis, and pumpkin seeds as desired.
Refrigerate until needed.