Thursday, February 2, 2012

Greek Pasta Salad

Ok, it's probably time I threw in something healthy again, you know with it being the new year and all. I don't know about you but my attempts to keep away from sweets are just not working!!! Maybe it's the whole having a baby thing and those extra 300 calories a day I need in order to feed baby. We do eat rather healthy at mealtimes, it's just those times in between that get me. A girl needs her chocolate you know!!

Anyway, I digress. On to this salad. I love salads. I love Greek food. Pasta is good. This is a great combo! My sister brought a similar pasta salad to one of our family dinners over the holidays and I had been thinking about it ever since. I knew it would be something that the whole family would eat and enjoy; not always an easy task with a toddler and preschooler to please. When I came upon this recipe and looked at the dressing ingredients, I realized it was pretty much the same dressing I use on my Greek Panzanella, which I love, so I knew the flavor would be spot on.

We ate this as is, meatless, for our whole dinner, although it would be fabulous with some roast chicken shredded on top (YUM!). I love that this only took about 10 minutes to prepare (almost a necessity these days). I made the dressing, then while the pasta cooked, I chopped veggies.

Greek Pasta Salad
For the salad:
1 pound gemelli or other short pasta
1 cucumber, peeled and diced (about half-inch pieces)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced (or more if you like)
1 can black olives, drained (halved, if desired)
3 cups firmly packed baby spinach
feta cheese, crumbled

For the Greek Dressing:
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp.Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil until well combined. Set aside. (This can be made ahead of time)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes, or as label directs. Drain, rinse under cold water and transfer to a bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients, all but the feta. Toss with dressing and crumble feta over the whole salad or each individual salad.


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