Greek Pasta Salad with Creamy Feta Vinaigrette

The veggie-loaded pasta salad that a certain someone (no naming names, now) just might have consumed five meals in a row, including breakfast and a bedtime snack. It's that good (but I'm still not givin' up who). There's no mayonnaise here, the dressing is a tangy-creamy vinaigrette with feta cheese. It's a great "dish to carry" choice for potlucks and picnics, funerals and family gatherings and is a definite addition to Favorite Summer Salads.

Greek Pasta Salad

Say hello to what just might be the summer’s salad obsession, a vegetable-packed pasta salad dressed in a feta-tangy creamy vinaigrette.

The recipe comes from dear family friend Elizabeth, a Scotswoman who emigrated to Canada many years ago who’s been ‘adopted’ by my Canadian family. Elizabeth made her pasta salad for a post-wedding brunch in Toronto last month and after my second, no third, helping, I just knew I (and Kitchen Parade readers!) needed the recipe post-haste. (Who else takes pictures of recipes on phones to e-mail to themselves?)

Then I made a double batch for July 4th gatherings where there were lots of accolades and second helpings, especially from those who say, “I don’t usually like pasta salad.” (Who else eats leftover pasta salad for breakfast?)

For the rest of the summer, this is going to be my “dish to carry”.

ALANNA's TIPS ALANNA’s TIPS More or less garlic? It’s up to you but I love the garlicky undertones with more. Cherry and grape tomatoes hold together better when the salad is intended to last several days. But when summer tomatoes are their peak, I’d be tempted to add diced regular tomatoes to just whatever’s being served right then. English cucumbers are more expensive but their tender skins and fleshy centers makes for less waste. Garden cucumbers are less expensive but I usually use a vegetable peeler to ‘stripe’ their tougher skins and a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds. This salad is a great contribution to potlucks and outdoor events. I chop the tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro at home and put into freezer bags on top of the salad, then stir together after arriving. The olives begin to stain the pasta just a bit beginning Day Two so if making ahead of time, I would hold the olives to add just before serving.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

GREEK PASTA SALAD with
CREAMY FETA VINAIGRETTE

Hands-on time: 45 minutes
Time to table: 3 hours
Makes 14 cups (but easily halved), a huge batch that fits most handily into a gallon-size ice cream bucket
    PASTA
  • 1 pound (about 4 cups) mini pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped
    VINAIGRETTE
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 - 4 teaspoons (see TIPS) minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces feta
  • ¼ cup olive oil
    BEFORE SERVING
  • 8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered (see TIPS)
  • 1 large cucumber (see TIPS), chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley

PASTA Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain well. While still warm, transfer to a large bowl and stir in olive oil. Stir in peppers and olives.

VINAIGRETTE In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except olive oil. With the back of a fork, smash the feta until it ‘creams’ the vinaigrette, leaving small bits of feta intact. Whisk in the olive oil. Stir the vinaigrette into the pasta. Refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours until cold.

BEFORE SERVING Stir in tomatoes, cucumber and cilantro. Serve cold.

LEFTOVERS The salad keeps several days (see TIPS).

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Half Cup: 108 Calories; 5g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 3mg Cholesterol; 123mg Sodium; 14g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 3g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 2, PointsPlus 3 This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in fat and increases in crunch and nutrition from extra vegetables. The biggest change was reducing the oil from 12 tablespoons to five, none of it missed in the least.

This Week, Years Past

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This Week, Elsewhere

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Bruschetta alla Thomas from T. Arcobasso's in St. Charles

A Veggie Venture
Mom's Potato Salad


More Irresistible Summer Salad Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
BLT Pasta Salad Bloody Mary Salad Quinoa & Black Bean Salad
~ more favorite summer salad recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Mom's Potato Salad ~
~ Summer Black-Eyed Pea Salad ~
~ Tomato Platter with Olives & Feta ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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I add broccoli florets to the cooking pasta for the last minute and then drain. Another veggie!
 
Definitely sounds like something I'd like! I'd just use Dreamfields pasta, maybe macaroni.
 
I thought about the low-glycemic Dreamfields, Kalyn, and think it would be a great change. Since I'm STILL sad the last huge batch is gone, that'll be the next one!
 
Don't be sad, dear girl. Make more :)! Sounds terrific. Will definitely make this weekend. Thanks!!!
 
Okay, Cary, sold! Since I don't have Dreamfields on hand, I just might use the Wacky Mac I do. It's half shells, half wacky. Good for kids? Maybe!
 
This salad sounds great. I love how you get the creaminess from mashing up the feta. This is the type of salad you bring to a picnic or BBQ and before you know it, it's gone.

Thanks for sharing and I love your photo.
 
I just made this salad for a school pot luck this weekend. It was a big hit. I made extra for home and we are all enjoying the leftovers. I am a big fan of both of your blogs and have followed them for over a year now. Every recipe I have tried has been a success with my family.
 
MicheleB ~ What a great way to start a Monday! Thanks so much for your kind words, for taking the time to let me know. It means the world!
 
Fixed this for a party last night. Delish!
 

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