What’s your favorite thing about summer? When I think of summer, I think of the smell of an outdoor barbecue, family and friends around the patio dining table, and lots of cold summer salads. Yes, summer evening dinners are all about that hot juicy bbq and cold refreshing salads.
So when my husband told me he was in the mood for a refreshing Mediterranean style salad, I came up with this Greek summer pasta salad and served it for Easter lunch. Because here in Florida, summer arrives a little early. Or should I say summer never really goes away?
At any rate, this pasta salad was a huge hit and even the kids enjoyed it. What I really love about this salad is it’s so fresh and light, yet satisfying enough to be eaten on its own, due to the pasta.
What is a pasta salad? A pasta salad is comprised of one or more pastas, vegetables, cheese, and some sort of dressing. Pasta salad is enjoyed chilled.
Pasta salad’s origin is rooted in Europe. It is believed that though pasta was a daily staple in Italian dining, on hot summer days the Italians preferred pasta that wasn’t hot. And so pasta salad was born. Today pasta salad is widely popular all over the world.
Aside from the fact that pasta salad is absolutely delicious, I know at least two more reasons to make pasta salad. Number one: pasta salad is super easy to prepare. And number two: you likely have most if not all the ingredients you need for pasta salad in your fridge and pantry.
What You Need:
cups cavatappi pasta (or pasta of your choice)
3 mini cucumbers – chopped
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes – halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives – pitted & halved
1 cup feta cheese – cubed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp dill – chopped
2 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic – minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Cook cavatappi, or your favorite pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, rinse, and set aside to cool.
My favorite types of pasta to use for pasta salads are ones where the dressing can get into the nooks and crannies. Cavatappi, penne, fusilli, and macaroni are all great choices to ensure a blast of flavor with each bite.
Combine cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, and feta cubes in with the pasta.
Next it’s time to prepare the dressing. Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, dill, and oregano in a jar, seal and shake. Pour the homemade dressing over the pasta salad and chill for at least 30 minutes.
When you’re serving the pasta salad, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and top with some fresh dill for garnish.