Thursday, July 12, 2012

Greek Pasta Salad

Boy, oh, boy, do I ever have a delicious pasta salad to share with you today. I have been wanting to create a few go-to pasta salad recipes because I feel they are the perfect dish to bring to a summer potluck:

  • You can make it the day before or the morning of the event.
  • It can be served at a brunch, lunch, or dinner.
  • It can be a main dish or a side.
  • It's served cold so you don't have to worry about reheating when you arrive.
  • Leftovers (if there are any) can be easily stored or shared with guests.
I published my Italian Pasta Salad a few weeks ago, and I almost made it again tonight, but I opted for something new. Terry had to work a little late, and he's had a rough work week, so I thought it would be nice to have dinner ready and dishes done before he even got home--and this dish made all that possible! I absolutely love a great Greek salad, but this recipe combines those ingredients--crisp cucumber, crunchy onion, tangy feta, tart lemon--with a boost of fiber from the pasta.

Greek Pasta Salad
Serves 6

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta (we used rotini)
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2-3 tomatoes (keep separate until ready to serve)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (use more for fresh)
  • 1 tsp dried basil (use more for fresh)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Cook pasta according to directions on the package until al dente. 

Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the lemon zest, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use (up to a few days).

To assemble the salad, chop the cucumber, crumble the feta, and finely chop the 1/2 red onion. Combine the three and set aside while the pasta cooks and cools. The pasta must cool completely before you add it to the vegetables. Once cooled, combine all ingredients except the tomatoes (see note below) and toss. Chill at least 30 minutes or up to a few days before adding the tomatoes serving. 

Cucumbers, onion, and feta combined

Cooled pasta added in

Finished dish! (Served with a chilled chardonnay)

Make ahead: You can make this pasta salad ahead in pieces (dressing, cooking the pasta, and chopping/combining the vegetables), or all at once and chilled together up to a few days. Making the entire dish in advance allows all the flavors to marry and gives you less to do the day you're serving it! Note: If possible, avoid refrigerating the tomatoes. Chop them separately and add them at the time of serving. (Tomatoes lose their flavor upon refrigeration.)

I hope you love it!

In other news, today rocked! I woke up as Terry headed to work and inhaled the zucchini latkes leftovers with a fried egg. Courtney really nailed it with this recipe; don't be surprised if you see these again soon! (Ashley, I know my brother's not a fan of zucchini, but these babies might convince him to come to the dark side! They have a potato-like quality, similar to hash browns, and I know he loves those! If you make them without telling him what's in them...)

Then I was off to a very important appointment: signing my contract for my new job! I officially start in August, as is the way with teaching positions, but I'll be teaching 9th grade English and 11th honors English. I've met a few of my coworkers and gotten familiar with the area, and I am SO excited. I'll be closer to home, closer to Terry's work, and focused only on teaching. For the last three years, I coached cheerleading, which was fun but exhausting. I'm excited to see what I can do with some extra time (not to mention a shorter commute).

After my meeting, I grabbed lunch with a friend to catch up, which was wonderful. Summer is obviously awesome, and we've been able to visit with both families, but it was nice to see a friend and chat about how things are going for both of us. 

Tomorrow, Terry and I are getting certified as CPR/First Aid instructors through Emergency First Response. I've been CPR/First Aid certified for several years now and feel it's very important to know the skills that could save someone's life. So far, I've only used my skills once--to respond to an injury accident while on a walk with Terry. A car hit a motorcyclist in an intersection, so I directed a bystander to call 9-1-1 while I checked the scene, told someone to direct traffic around the motorcyclist, and kept the victim calm while waiting for the professionals. While I didn't do a whole lot, it was comforting knowing that the things I did were correct, and that if more was needed I could have helped. I'm excited to become an instructor so I can empower others to do the same.

Alright, that's a lot of writing for one night. I hope you have a spectacular Friday. Remember to enter my Simply Bar giveaway by 5 pm PST tonight!



  2. The pasta salad looks great! Have your tried the Barefoot Contessa's Greek orzo salad? Very similar.. I swear by anything the Barefoot Contessa makes haha

    1. I haven't tried her salad! I am going to look up her recipe right now! :-)