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February 7, 2012

Recipe for Greek pasta salad with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette {vegetarian}

Greek pasta salad #vegetarian #picnic #salad

In a typical winter, we'd be tromping through snow banks, shoveling our paths, digging out our cars, waiting for the plow guy to come and extricate our driveway. This year (and I don't mean to jinx us by saying this), we've had February days warm enough for T-shirts and sidewalk café dining. Everything here in southern New England seems out of season; if you don't believe me, wander in my garden, where rosemary, thyme, oregano and even parsley still show some green. It's not quite as warm here as the Greek Isles, but the sight of fresh herbs in my mid-winter garden makes me crave Mediterranean flavors. For this Greek pasta salad, I reached into the pantry for the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette ingredients. You might want to make extra dressing, to keep in the refrigerator for a quick sauce for warm pasta, a dip for crudites, or a sandwich slather.

Greek pasta salad with tomatoes, cucumber, feta and olives. #salad #vegetarian

Greek pasta salad with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette

From the pantry, you'll need: rotini (or other twisty pasta), black olives, garlic, sun-dried or slow-roasted tomatoes, plain yogurt, white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar, feta cheese.

Inspired by a recipe in a Kikkoman brochure. Serves 4 as a main course.

Ingredients

For the dressing:
1 garlic clove
7 sun-dried or slow-roasted tomato halves, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp plain nonfat yogurt
1 tsp Greek seasoning
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tsp agave nectar (or honey, or sugar substitute)
5-6 tsp water

For the salad:
8 oz rotini or other twisty pasta (I use Dreamfields)
1-1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes, any type
1 cup diced cucumber (I use seedless English cucumber)
1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup pitted large black olives, sliced in half
3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste

Directions

In a blender, combine all dressing ingredients, and blend on high speed until smooth. If you'd like the dressing thinner, add a bit more water. Set aside.

Bring 4 quarts of water to the boil in a large pot. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and add to a large mixing bowl.

Combine all remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl along with as much of the dressing as you like. Garnish with some extra dill fronds, and serve at room temperature.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Broccoli, basil and pasta salad
Pasta salad with feta, basil, olives, fresh and slow-roasted tomatoes
Cold curried orzo
Spicy Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad
Picnic-perfect tortellini and shrimp salad

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Grilled vegetable pasta salad, from Gluten-free Goddess
Pasta salad with Italian sausage, zucchini, red pepper, and olives, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mediterranean orzo salad, from Andrea Meyers
Sesame yogurt pasta salad, from 101 Cookbooks
Smoked salmon pasta salad, from Simply Recipes

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Comments

What a gorgeous salad, Lydia! And I'm very invested in this sandwich slather of which you speak. :-)

It was super warm here too then all of a sudden BAM rain! Still want to make this though. Cool weather be damned.

Kathy, the dressing (which is fairly thick until you thin it with water) would be great on a roast chicken or fish panini. I'm pretty sure.

EB, this is a salad that just transports you to Greece with every bite. And now matter how weird our weather, Greece is still nicer at this time of year!

and let's just float right into summer....
loving this weather. last winter i had a bad case of SAD.
and yes, this is a gorgeous salad.
i've been eating a lot of salads lately and keep forgetting the feta.

Love Greek pasta salads, and I really like the sound of this dressing!

Oh Boy I am ALWAYS in the mood for Mediterranean food! Now if I could just find some decent tomatoes in the stores....

VanillaSugar, am I pushing summer a little bit? This winter feels like spring, and I'm all topsy-turvy.

Pam, the dressing really makes this a better-than-average Greek salad.

Carol, almost impossible, of course, but here I used heirloom cherry tomatoes from Trader Joe's.

Meanwhile, here in Albuquerque it is COLD! Still, we eat salad all year long. Sounds like a plan for lunch today!

Candy, this is definitely a year-round salad (I used my homemade slow-roasted tomatoes from this summer's harvest to make the dressing). Enjoy!

Greek salad is one of my favorites - love your twist of using sun dried tomatoes in the dressing.

Jeanette, when I have them in the freezer, I always substitute my own slow-roasted tomatoes, but either will work well. This dressing is really a keeper; it's versatile and, depending on how thick you make it, can work well on anything from burgers to grilled fish.

This looks fantastic!! Such pretty colors!

Lannie, the colors brighten up any winter day (and the taste is pretty terrific, too).

Is it ok to use the oil packed sun dried tomatoes? This sounds VERY good!!

Linda, it's absolutely fine.

A tip - use the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in the dressing instead of the olive oil! This salad looks wonderful!

This was SO good!

As I made the dressing, I didn't think it needed the water - I wanted it a little on the thicker side. I made a few adjustments:

- red wine vinegar, since I didn't have white
- I added the entire green pepper
- 2 grilled chicken breasts with Greek seasoning
- more perfectly ripe (cherry) tomatoes than it called for
- less pasta because I added the chicken
- seasoned feta, since my hubby bought that by accident

SO delicious! Can't wait for leftovers tomorrow. My husband loved it as well. Thanks for posting.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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