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 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.
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
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.
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
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