Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Greek Pasta Salad

I have been making this pasta salad at least once a year for the past 10 years or so. The first time I made it, I used a recipe from one of my mom's cookbooks. Then, the cookbook somehow got lost or otherwise vanished... I have never been able to find it again. But, since that first time I made it, I LOVED this salad! And everyone else loved it too! So, I've been "winging" it for the past 9 or 10 years... I remember some of what was in it, but I've never really measured the dressing. I just grab handfuls of this and that, mix it up and taste to see if it's right. So, I apologize for some of the non-measured ingredients. This is how I've been doing it for a long time. It works, and it ends up tasting delicious! My son even loves it! This is a great summer time salad, or any time potluck salad, with yummy fresh and light ingredients! 
And it's very colorful! :) Enjoy!

1 pkg. (12 oz) tri-color rotini, cooked per package directions
1 red bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
1 pkg. grape tomatoes
1/2 cup Calamata olives, pitted and halved*
1 pkg. (4 oz) Feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
About 12 fresh basil leaves*
About 6 big fresh sage leaves, chopped*
About 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves*
Big handful of fresh Italian Flat-leaf Parsley*
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced*
1/2 tsp salt
8 to 10 turns fresh ground black pepper
1 to 2 palmfuls parmesan cheese, grated

Putting it all together
In a large serving bowl, combine pasta, bell peppers, tomatoes, and olives. Set aside. In a food processor, combine all dressing ingredients and puree until smooth. I always taste it to see if it needs anything else. Some things I occasionally have to add are: more pepper or parmesan cheese. Once you have your desired taste, pour dressing over pasta mixture, and gently stir to coat the pasta with the dressing. I think it is much easier to use clean hands here. Add feta cheese and gently stir it into the pasta. Refrigerate before serving. It tastes really good if you refrigerate it overnight. I think more of the flavor gets absorbed in the pasta or something... yum! :)

*Note: Green olives would be fine here too. I think they taste about the same. The Calamata olives are a little bit more tangy (?), vinegary (?), which goes well with this salad! You can also use crushed dried herbs if you don't have fresh on hand. Use 1/3 dried herbs per 1 part fresh herbs. So, 1 tbsp fresh basil=1 tsp dried basil. Since I don't really measure my fresh herbs, if I were to use dried herbs, I would start with about 1 tsp of each and go from there... If it tastes good, leave it... If it needs some flavor, add more. And if you're using dried herbs, crush them in your hand a little before you add them to your dressing. This helps release more of the flavor. :)



The Blonde Duck said...

Now this is a tasty looking Greek salad!

Two Pretty Little Skirts said...

this PS looks delish!
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Dirty Mouth Mama said...

Greek Pasta Salad is one of my favorites. Thanks for the reminder. I have feta cheese in the fridge right now!

hyltonta said...

This pasta salad is great! Mama Mel has made this for several of our family gatherings.

Laura said...

I'm having a friend over late in the afternoon, this pasta will be great with the grilled chicken breast I'm planning to make, I'll just marinated the chicken complimentary to the pasta. BDW don't worry about the quantities, I think most of us don't really measure when cooking familiar dishes. I kind of "eyeball- it".
Thank you.

Toddler Crafts Onna said...

Wow that looks really delicious!! I am definitely going to try it! I love feta cheese and pasta, so I don't think I can go wrong with this dish!!

Carolyn said...

That looks delicious! I'm always looking for a good salad to take to picnics! Thanks!

Penelope said...

I love everything Greek...all sorts of Greek foods! Yummy!