Monday, May 25, 2009

Welcome summer!

In New England, and probably elsewhere around the country, Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer season. The summer solstice may be nearly a month away yet, but that's not getting us down! The town beaches are opening, grills are being fired up, families are gathering for backyard parties - and thank goodness, Mother Nature is looking down on us with a sun dripped smile.

Today, Mr. ValleyWriter and I are off to the in-laws for our first official summer BBQ. I love BBQs and all the better when I'm not hosting and frantic about whether there's a spec of dirt on the floor. Of course, I won't be going empty handed. We always chip in for family BBQs and my contribution today is a yummy Greek pasta salad.

My mother-in-law suggested something meatless so my sister-in-law, who's vegetarian, would be able to partake. Having had various food intolerances in the past, I know how not fun it can be to go to a party where there's nothing you can eat, so I wanted to create something I knew my sister-in-law would love. Immediately, I thought of a Greek salad - playing up on her love for olives and feta.

I just stirred it up and sampled it after having let it chill overnight and it turned out just like I wanted - smooth and flavorful with just a little kick from the spices at the end. (Sure beats the macaroni, cucumber, tomato and mayo pasta salads of my childhood...) It's sure to be a hit at any summer BBQ, if I do say so myself!

Greek Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

For dressing:
1/2 c. olive oil
1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/4 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chives
1 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

16 oz. rotelli pasta, cooked
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 - 3/4 c. ripe pitted olives
1/2 cucumber, diced
2-3 roasted red peppers, diced
6 oz. feta, broken into chunks

Directions:
To make dressing, combine olive oil and spices and mix well. Add in vinegars and whisk (or shake in a covered container) until fully combined.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, olives, cucumber and roasted red peppers. Drizzle dressing over the pasta and stir well to thoroughly mix.
Fold in feta, being careful not to crumble it up too much.
Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight before serving. Stir well before serving.

6 comments:

LK- Healthy Delicious said...

looks fantastic! cant go wrong with feta and olives.

Jenn said...

I love pasta salads. That the one thing I usually go for when it's available.

Reeni♥ said...

This is just loaded with wonderful textures and flavors. I bet it will be a big hit at the BBQ!

Natalie D said...

MMM! this looks amazing! thanks for your comments and advice- I ALWAYS want advice!!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

What a lovely and delicious pasta salad. So perfect for any BBQ this time of the year.

Tangled Noodle said...

This is pretty much the best pasta salad there is!