Greek Pasta Salad

 

I think pasta salads have gotten a bad rap for being heavy on the mayo and even heavier in the stomach. This pasta salad is filling but still light. And is easy enough that is has converted even my most adamently non-cooking friends, as well as been gobbled up by the pickiest eaters I know. The best thing about this recipe is that it is the perfect make-ahead meal. It only gets better with some hours marinating in the fridge. Perfect for when you don’t know when dinner will be, incoming guests and who knows what time, or for the family with everyone eating at different times of the day. This is also my most requested pot-luck salad!

 
8 oz. pasta, cooked and drained (small shells or penne)
1 basket cherry tomatoes, halved (I usually use grape tomatoes)
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded & sliced
1 sm red onion chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered (I use two)
1 1/2 C Kalamata or black Greek olives, pitted and halved
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing:

1/3 C. lemon juice
2 T. water
1/2 C. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 1/2 t. dried oregano

Mix salad ingredients together gently. Combine dressing ingredients thoroughly and pour over salad.  Mix again to distribute dressing. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Variations: Chicken or shrimp both taste great with this recipe. I will save my leftover grilled chicken breasts especially to make this with. You can replace the dressing with any bottled greek-style vinagrette. You can also replace the kalamata olives with plain, canned grocery store olives to save a few bucks.

When doubling this recipe for a crowd, instead of doubleing the dressing amount, I just add the herbed olive oil and water mixture that the artichokes are packed in…combined with the single dressing recipe it makes the perfect amount of dressing for a double batch.

You will notice in the picture above, that there are very few tomato pieces and alot of cucumber. I was relying on veggies from my CSA and had already used two of my three tomatos the night before…no tomatos in stores right now.  I did, however, grab another tomato off my mom’s tomato vine and add it before serving.  I had one big cuke plus a few slices leftover from two nights before so they all went in…I like cukes but my husband hates them so he feels I ruined his nice greek pasta salad!

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