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.
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”.
GREEK PASTA SALAD with
CREAMY FETA VINAIGRETTE
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
- 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
- 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
- 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).
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