Welcome to a fascinating journey of creating an exquisite Greek-style pasta salad, a versatile, healthy, and mouth-watering dish ideal for numerous occasions.
Whether you’re planning for barbecues, cookouts, picnics, or merely your weekly meal preparation, this pasta salad recipe presents a delightful option to consider.
Boasting a beautiful blend of diverse ingredients, including Greek salad dressing and feta cheese, this salad is not only simple to make but also incredibly customizable to suit your palate.
Creating the Greek-Style Pasta Salad
Step One: Preparing the Vegetables
To initiate this culinary adventure, your first task involves chopping an array of vegetables. Reach for your trusty, sharp knife and start by dicing an English cucumber. English cucumbers are the preferred variety for this recipe due to their seedless nature and extra crunchiness. However, don’t worry if you don’t have this type on hand, any cucumber variety will suffice.
Moving on, it’s time to tackle one pint of cherry or grape tomatoes. Depending on their size, you can choose to slice these into halves or quarters. The trick with tomatoes lies in selecting the most vibrant ones you can find, as these will likely deliver the most flavor.
Next up is a bell pepper, which you can choose according to your preference. Cutting the bell pepper involves a simple technique: slice off its sides, lay it flat, slice off the bottom, cut it into strips, and then dice it.
A half cup of pitted Kalamata olives follows, which you’ll slice into halves. Finally, you need half a red onion, diced. Achieving this involves slicing off the onion’s stem side, laying it flat, slicing it in half lengthwise, peeling off the outer skin, and then dicing it.
Step Two: Creating the Greek Salad Dressing
After preparing your vegetables, it’s time to whip up the Greek salad dressing. This dressing is highly versatile, and you can use it on different salad types, not just our pasta salad.
The magic begins with a mason jar, a practical vessel for its convenient measurements on the side and the ability to shake up your ingredients right in the jar. First, put in one large crushed garlic clove, followed by 0.5 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. It’s recommended to crush the oregano between your fingers to release more of its flavor. Then, add a quarter cup of fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Pour in a third cup of high-quality extra virgin olive oil and season with 0.5 teaspoon of sea salt and 0.25 teaspoon of black pepper. Seal your jar and give it a good shake to mix everything.
Step Three: Cooking the Pasta
The next ingredient in line is 1 pound (16 ounces) of short pasta, such as fusilli. You should cook the pasta according to the package instructions, usually for 6 to 8 minutes in boiling salted water until it’s al dente. After draining, give it a quick rinse under cold water to bring it down to room temperature.
Step Four: Bringing it All Together
Now that all your ingredients are ready, it’s time to combine everything. Begin by placing the cooled pasta in a large bowl. Add the chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, Kalamata olives, and diced red onion. The crowning touch comes from crumbling some block-form feta cheese over the top. This type of feta offers superior flavor and texture. After a final shake, drizzle the Greek salad dressing over the salad and gently toss to mix.
Tips and Variations
To elevate this pasta salad even further, consider some of the following tips and variations:
- If you prefer a more heavily dressed salad, consider increasing the dressing recipe by 1.5 times.
- For an Italian twist, replace the Greek dressing with an Italian vinaigrette and use mozzarella instead of feta cheese.
- For added protein, toss in some grilled chicken, canned tuna, or chickpeas.
- To make it vegan, swap the feta cheese for a plant-based alternative.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I make this salad ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare this salad in advance and store it in the fridge. The flavors will meld over time, enhancing the taste.
2. Can I use a different type of pasta? Absolutely, you can substitute the fusilli with other short pasta types like penne or farfalle.
3. How long will this salad keep in the fridge? This Greek-style pasta salad should stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days if stored in a sealed container.
Kitchen Tools/Equipment Needed
To create this delightful pasta salad, you will need:
- A sharp knife
- A chopping board
- A large mixing bowl
- A saucepan for cooking pasta
- A colander for draining pasta
- A mason jar for making the salad dressing
A vibrant and hearty Greek-style pasta salad packed with fresh vegetables and covered in a tangy homemade dressing.
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
0.5 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
0.5 red onion, diced
Feta cheese block, crumbled
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
0.5 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
0.25 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
0.33 cup extra virgin olive oil
0.5 teaspoon sea salt
0.25 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound short pasta (like fusilli)
- Prepare the vegetables by chopping the cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, and olives, and dicing the onion.
- In a mason jar, combine garlic, Dijon mustard, dried oregano, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Shake to mix.
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente, then drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta, vegetables, and crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle over the Greek salad dressing and toss to mix.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Main Dish, Salad
- Method: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Greek
- Serving Size: 1serving
- Calories: 425
- Sugar: 6g
- Sodium: 500mg
- Fat: 500mg
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 5g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 12g
- Cholesterol: 20mg
Keywords: Greek Pasta Salad