A quick 15-minute easy Greek pasta salad your answer to those warm summer nights. Fresh vegetables, feta cheese, and lemon herb dressing are a healthy combo.
It is a hot and sticky, open the windows and turn on the fan kind of night right now in California, and I’m eating a popsicle as I write this post to help cool down at 8 pm, haha. If the meteorologists are correct which I’m guessing is about 40% of the time, this week isn’t going to get any less sweltering. That means we need a fast, simple and sweat free food solution.
In the time it takes you to boil a pot of water, cook your pasta and prep your veggies, dinner can be ready in less time that it takes to watch an episode of Jeopardy. Greek cuisine is awesome because it incorporates ripe, fresh ingredients, with tangy cheese’s and aromatic herbs. It’s no wonder that the Mediterranean diet is so popular, guilt free delicious eating sounds like a good idea to me. This 15 minute easy Greek pasta salad recipe is the answer to your summertime food slump, now let’s get cooking friends!
Gosh, all of the colors from the fresh vegetables in this pasta salad are gorgeous, don’t you agree? Packed with ripe heirloom baby tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, bell peppers and pungent onions, yes! Orange bell peppers have a little bit of a sweeter and mild flavor compared to red and green pepper, so I usually try to incorporate those as much as I can.
A nice big hunk of creamy feta cheese makes me weak in the knees, and I like to add a generous amount in this pasta salad. I cut the feta into small cubes and infuse more flavor by drizzling each bite with extra virgin olive oil, dried oregano, and fresh lemon zest. To make this pasta even more healthy, I selected some whole grain penne pasta to add more fiber to the dish, so go ahead and dig in!
Homemade vinaigrette’s are so simple to make so you can have more control over the added sugars, emulsifiers or preservatives you would typically get from pre-made store bought dressings.
I quickly put this dressing together in my Vitamix blender; fresh lemon juice, honey, mint, basil, red onion, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper, yup that’s it! Generously pour all over, so it absorbs the wonderful flavors and toss.
This Greek pasta salad is the perfect base for any other ingredients you want to nosh on. Marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, chickpeas or even some grilled chicken or salmon, it all works so nicely. If you’re looking for some more healthy salads to keep you cool and satisfied, try some crunchy Caribbean coleslaw or grilled peach salad with cherry vinaigrette.
How do I make a homemade Vinaigrette?
A vinaigrette is just a fancy word for dressing, and it adds wonderful flavors to your salads, especially this Greek pasta salad. Just a simple combination of oil, vinegar or acid, you can whisk everything together by hand in a bowl, or even quicker in a blender. The key is to gradually add the oil to the vinegar to create an emulsion while vigorously mixing (takes some coordination!). You want the oil droplets finely dispersed throughout the liquid so that the flavors evenly coat your pasta salad. The force and mechanical shear by whisking or blending allow the oil to create a thickened dressing. The sweeteners and herbs and spices add that extra punch of flavor. No need to buy store bought vinaigrette again!