Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mediterranean style pasta salad

I realize this isn't a lot different from the pasta salad I posted last month but, come on, really what can you do to pasta salad that hasn't already been done? Regardless, I went with a Mediterranean feel with this one; lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), tomatoes, feta cheese, fresh herbs including Greek oregano and mint. The result is a flavorful, colorful, bright salad that perks up any old grilled piece of meat.

As always look at this salad as a canvas to add whatever you and your family likes. Got fresh green beans? Use them in place of the asparagus. Don't like red bell peppers? Leave them out! Hate orzo? Use spirals or shells, whatever makes you happy.

I love that more of my herbs are growing and thriving. It's true, the more you pick them the faster they grow, at least in this Witches' experience it is. My mint is finally big enough to start using, I loved it here, so unexpected yet subtle. If you've not used fresh mint I encourage you to try it, its not at all 'minty' like you would imagine. I always thought adding mint would be like adding a stick of Extra to your dish, gross! Not so. Give it a try! The chive blossom is one of the best perks of late spring & growing chives. Their pretty purple flowers have a sharp onion flavor that doesn't linger, rather gives you its essence and then moves on to allow other flavors in. And who doesn't love to eat flowers?

While easy to prepare the flavor is very complex and its stunning on a plate. The colors let you know that you're in for a delicious treat chock full of vitamins and goodness. Hooray for summertime and veggie laden pasta salads!

Mediterranean style pasta salad
serves 4
1/2 lb orzo or other small pasta
6 spears asparagus
10 grape tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
1 chive blossom (optional, can use fresh minced chives or shallots in lieu)
2 springs oregano
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig mint
1-2 small sprigs parsley
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 t kosher salt
dash pepper
1/2 the minced herbs listed above

Make dressing by whisking all ingredient listed, set aside for 15 min while pasta cooks.

Cook pasta according to directions on box. When there's 1 minute left in pasta cooking time add the asparagus to the boiling water and drain it off with pasta. Cook pasta & asparagus with a cold water bath or spray cold water on pasta, moving it around until its all cooled off.

In a medium size bowl combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, feta, herbs and chive blossoms. Add drained and cooled pasta and asparagus. Toss with dressing and serve.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe calculator
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 296.7
Total Fat 14.5 g
Saturated Fat 3.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.2 g
Cholesterol 12.6 mg
Sodium 162.9 mg
Potassium 197.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.7 g
Sugars 1.2 g
Protein 8.3 g


kel said...

Looks delicious!! Fresh mint is awesome in a normal salad too! And in iced tea! Now I wish I had planted some!!

Michelle said...

This sounds really great, Andrea, and it's gorgeous, too! I love my mint plant. I use it for cooking, cleaning, hair rinsing (in vinegar), chewing, and I rub a leaf or two on my hands after cooking.

Jenn said...

Sounds wonderful and looks delicious!! Glad to hear your herbs are doing so well. I wish we had room for a garden... oh how I miss those days!

Raina said...

Great recipe. I love pasta salad. Thanks for the info on chives blossoms. I have chives in my garden but never thought to eat the blossoms.

Sook said...

Hi! Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog! Your comment made me feel so relieved to know that there are people out there who love and appreciate my blog. :) This pasta looks delicious, mainly because I am a huge Orzo lover! It looks so light and healthy, too. Thanks for sharing!

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