Have you ever stood in front of the fridge, willing something tasty to jump out at your eyes? Or are you the kind of person that dreads another boring sandwich waiting for you at lunchtime at work? Both of these scenarios are ones that I face frequently. One of my favorite cures for the lunch time food boredom is by making a flavorful pasta salad on Sunday to eat throughout the week.
Of course, pasta salad is also a great side dish and pairs nicely with everything from grilled chicken to seafood. And this recipe is mayo free, so even in the summer months it makes a great pot luck dish!
The real beauty of a pasta salad is how versatile they are. In reality, I think you could probably throw in any veggies you have with a vinaigrette and it would be delicious. This recipe uses traditional greek flavors to really pack a lunch punch!
I have always loved the salty, tangy flavor of feta cheese and am a fan of nearly any recipe that includes it. It’s a common ingredient in my pasta salads, and for this one, I really wanted to create a tasty Greek salad inspired dish.
You can use any pasta that you’d like, but I typically use rotini, farfalle, or cellentani (corkscrew) pasta for my salads depending on what I have on hand.
After I cook the pasta, I like to dump it onto a large cookie sheet that I lined with paper towels to absorb the moisture. You are going to be putting a vinaigrette onto the pasta – and we know that oil and water are not friendly. I have found that the oil clings to the pasta much better if I take this step – but it’s entirely optional.
When you’re chopping your veggies, I like to go with a very small dice. I like each bite to be a combination of flavors and ingredients, and you aren’t going to get that if you have big chunks of vegetables. For this salad I opted for bell peppers (red and yellow), onion, blanched asparagus, roughly chopped kalamata olives, and crumbled feta cheese.
Simply whisk all the ingredients together. It’s that easy! You can really use any citrus that you have on hand, but I usually always have orange juice, so it’s my go-to. I also use a few drops of lemon essential oils on occasion.
If you don’t wish to make your own, you can also substitute any store bought Greek dressing.
Mix together your pasta, veggies, cheese, and dressing. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I have found that I love this best the day after, when all the flavors have melded together and your pasta has absorbed the flavor of the vinaigrette.
- 2 cups pasta, uncooked
- 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1/2 cup asparagus, in pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup Greek vinaigrette
- Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, then drain well.
- Combine pasta, vegetables, and cheese.
- Pour vinaigrette over pasta and mix well.
- Chill for at least one hour and then serve.