Monday, May 17, 2010

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

How wonderful is it when you can call a big bowl of pasta a "salad". Being a total carb lover myself, I take total advantage of the fact that once served cold, with a little olive oil and veggies, a pasta dish can suddenly turn into a "salad"...which of course means you can eat more of it!

Last night for dinner my family made Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs on the barbeque, and I was in charge of making a side dish. I figured there were enough vegetables on the kebabs to carry through the meal, so I would make something a little more satisfying as our side dish. Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day in Toronto so I wanted to make something refreshing to top off our warm day. When I think of satisfying and refreshing, I immediately think of either potato salad or pasta salad! We had potato salad with our lunch, so that left me with delicious pasta salad.

Pasta salad is super simple to make and is really fun to play around with. Just start with one ingredient as your inspiration and add on from there. My inspiring ingredient was Feta Cheese. I took that one basic ingredient and built on it by thinking of other Mediterranean flavours that I had on hand. This is one of those simple dishes that does not require any recipe or measuring cups, although I have provided you with a guideline to help those just starting out in the kitchen. Just think of what flavours taste good together, or think of a particular type of cuisine (for instance, Greek), and add what you like, tasting as you go. In no time at all, you will have a delicious and hearty side dish, perfect for a backyard summer dinner!
Note: Ingredient amounts are all approximate. You may adjust to your liking.

1/2 lb bow tie pasta
4-5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, pureed
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup feta cheese, cut into chunks
1 cup black olives, pitted and halved
3 tbsp chives, chopped
2-3 large basil leaves, chopped finely
2 tbsp dried oregano
greek salad dressing (Optional for additional flavour. You may add as much as you like)
salt and pepper

Other Optional Ingredients:
red and/or yellow peppers, chopped
canned artichokes, drained and chopped
red onions, cut into strips
can of tuna, drained

1. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. Place pasta in a large serving dish and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.

3. Add the tomatoes, olives, and feta and gently stir to combine.

4. Add the chives, basil, oregano, salad dressing (optional) and season generously with pepper, and a little salt (the feta adds a lot of saltiness).

Listening To:
Foals - Spanish Sahara

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Bridgett said...

Looks and sounds delicious. I love the feta in there!

Ink Obsession Designs said...

That looks delish!

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Wonderful Med dish. Just work in avocado and you could enter into our cooking challenge. Fantastic plate.

Ginger Rose...what a great name!


Joanne said...

Being a carb fiend myself, I love any salad that has pasta in it. All of these delicious mix-ins don't hurt either. What a great accompaniment to kebabs!

Eva said...

I love carbs too!! I bet I will love eating this "salad."

beyondkimchee said...

YOUR Pasta looks delish!
Thanks for sharing the recipe. I am going to try that.

cuteseas said...

I love your opinion on the pasta salad! :) The more the better! It looks delish!


Stephanie said...

Oh that looks so yum...

Radka said...

Your food is fantastic. You have photographed it beautifully. Have a nice day Radka..