Greek Pasta Salad
This Greek inspired Pasta Salad is a summer staple for us. It’s so easy to make ahead and only gets better after a day in the fridge. It’s perfect with this delicious Grilled Greek Chicken.
Who else is boycotting the kitchen right now? It’s been so hot that turning on the oven is just not appealing. It’s been slow cooker recipes, easy salads, and lots and lots of grilling! I realize that it’s not even that hot here when compared to the heat wave in Europe or how warm (and humid) it’s been on the east coast but none the less, hot is hot. The way our house faces we get a lot of afternoon sun and we have big windows on the back of the house so from 4-9 it’s pretty warm. No cooking for Mountain Mama right now.
My boys also started football practices this week so every night we’re at the fields and not getting home until way after dinner time. I can’t believe the time has come (where did the summer go?) but it’s time that I start meal prepping and having stuff ready to roll so we’re not scrambling at 8 o’clock trying to figure out dinner. I think I’ll probably start cooking in the afternoons before it gets too hot and have everything ready to roll so everyone can eat when they find the time!
MAKING PASTA SALAD AHEAD OF TIME
My oldest LOVES pasta salad. My youngest….not so much. Which is a shame because it’s the perfect, easy summer supper. Pasta salad is one of those things that gets better after it sits for a day or two so it’s perfect for making ahead. It’s also great for packing in a small cooler and sending with my boys to the field if they need a quick snack. This Greek Pasta Salad is truly at it’s best on day 3. The dressing works it’s way into the pasta and the veggies get almost pickled like. The lemon-garlic vinaigrette on this Greek salad is my favorite!
TIPS FOR PACKING PASTA SALAD WITH LOTS OF FLAVOR
Pasta salad can be notoriously bland. I have a few tricks to making it pack that punch! Using fresh herbs- and lots of them- is my favorite way to make a pasta salad taste fresh. I almost always add more dressing than a recipe calls for as the pasta soaks up so much of the vinaigrette. My vinaigrettes tend to be heavy on the acid- I like that extra flavor boost. My last tip is to add a more pungent cheese. Feta and parmesan are my favorite- you don’t need to add a ton to get that flavor!
ADDING PROTEIN TO PASTA SALAD
I almost always make my pasta salads vegetarian and then we’ll add either grilled chicken or shrimp as we eat the salad. I don’t eat a ton of meat so I like the idea of everyone adding what protein they want/need at the time of serving. A lot of time I like to add toasted nuts and seeds to my pasta salad for an added boost but I only do that at time of serving so the nuts/seeds don’t get soggy. This salad would also be awesome topped with a piece of grilled salmon!
As always, thanks for reading and hope you’re staying cool and having a week! xo, Kelley
photos by Deborah DeKoff/recipe by Mountain Mama CooksPrint
The best of two worlds- classic Greek salad meets summertime pasta salad: a match made in heaven!
For the vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the pasta salad:
- 1 lb. penne pasta
- 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups chopped English cucumber
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- 1/2 cup halved kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 1/4 cup minced, fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced, fresh dill
- 1/2 cup (or more) crumbled feta cheese
- Make the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients except olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix to throughly combine. Whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
- Cook pasta al dente according to manufacturers directions. Drain and place in a large bowl.
- Add tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, olives, and red onion. Start with 3/4 or so of the dressing and add more as desired. Salad can be made ahead and stored in the fridge at this point. Just before serving, stir in chopped parsley and dill. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.