Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

My niece, Kinley, had a picnic party at the park to celebrate her 2nd birthday this month. I was in charge of bringing a pasta salad side dish. This is somewhat of a difficult task in our family, only because my Aunt Diana Lu is the queen of awesome pasta salads. I played around with different ingredients until I found a combination that I was happy with. I think even Aunt Diana Lu would approve of this one :)

A lot of pasta salads use mayonnaise as the base of their creamy dressing, but because this was for an afternoon picnic and I wasn't sure how long it would be sitting outside before we ate it, I wanted to avoid any mayo in this one. Also, as an added bonus, the salad would be healthier without the addition of mayonnaise. The end result was a very flavorful but light dressing. The feta even mixed well with the dressing to create a little creamy texture in the absence of mayo :) I loved it and I hope you enjoy it too!

Recipe List:

Salad Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp Honey

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of Farfalle or 'Bow Tie' pasta, cooked and cooled (I like bow tie pasta for pasta salad, but you can use 1 lb of whichever pasta you prefer)
  • 1 cup Marinated Artichokes, roughly chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 small can (4 oz) of sliced Olives, drained
  • 1/2 small Red Onion, diced
  • 6 oz. Sundried Tomato & Basil Feta Cheese (regular Feta would be just fine too)
  • 1 pint (2 cups) Grape Tomatoes, halved

Mix together the salad dressing ingredients with a whisk.

Add all of your chopped/prepared salad ingredients with the cooled pasta in a large bowl, and toss together with the salad dressing:

 Transfer to your serving bowl and enjoy!
This is also a great dish because you can make it the night before. Just cover your bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight. This will let the flavors marinade together even more, and give you more free time on the day of your event to make more dishes or set up for your guests.

During the birthday party, a very smart ice cream man circled his truck around the park with his luring music calling out to all the children. Kinley LOVES the ice cream man. In fact, sometimes she hears music, whether it's the ice cream truck or not, and she yells with excitement, "Ice Cream Man!" Of course, that was the drill at the park this day. On our way running over to the ice cream truck, she told me that she wanted 'pink ice cream'. I asked the man for his most pink ice cream, and he handed me a 'pink panther'.
 Isn't she SO cute eating her pink panther ice cream.

And while all the children played with their friends at the park... so did the men:

1 comment:

  1. OH MY MY MY!!!! LOVE it Megan!! you ROCK!!! This is so hard to not taste the salad!!!RIGHT NOW!!! Great job! love the artichoke touch!! The only big difference in my dressing is 1/2 cup of fresh basil (blended in processor). You really can't go wrong changing things a bit from time to time. Now that we Warner's are on the Daniel Plan for life..we are switching to whole wheat pasta!! Love your homey touch to add my name in the are toooo fun!!!Can't wait to see what's next! God Bless! xox Aunt Diana