At this point in my life, I know that I will never be tall, model-thin, or able to balance on high heels. I'll never be a physicist or concert pianist, a race car driver or sky diver. And I will never be vegan. I can give up many things -- butter, chicken, hamburgers -- but do not take my cheese. In this recipe, you can omit the turkey, and of course you can change up the vegetables depending on what you have from the farm stand, but don't leave out the feta cheese. The briny tang of the cheese balances the nutty chewiness of whole wheat pasta, which can be a bit blah without something to perk it up. Fresh herbs are a must, and multi-color vegetables make it fun. This is a great salad to bring to a potluck, because you can make it ahead, and multiply the recipe to serve a crowd. Just don't forget the cheese.
Whole wheat pasta turkey salad with vegetables and feta-herb-yogurt dressing
From the pantry, you'll need: feta cheese, mayonnaise, plain lowfat yogurt, agave nectar, rotini or other pasta, lemon, black olives.
For the dressing:
3 Tbsp feta cheese (I use fat-free feta crumbles)
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp lowfat plain yogurt
1 tsp Greek seasoning
1/2 tsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
2 Tbsp fresh dill weed
For the salad:
8 oz whole wheat rotini or other pasta
1 small zucchini, cubed
2 cups cooked cubed turkey breast
1 cup bell pepper (any color)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (any color)
1 cup cubed cucumber
1/4 cup roughly chopped black olives
In a blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients, and whiz until everything comes together. If the dressing is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water, and mix again. Set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use.
Bring 6 quarts of water to boil on high heat. Add the pasta, and cook until it's almost done. In the final 30 seconds of cooking, toss the zucchini into the pot with the pasta. When the pasta is done, the zucchini will be nicely blanched. Drain, rinse under cool water to stop the cooking, and drain again. Transfer the pasta and zucchini to a large mixing bowl.
Add the turkey and remaining vegetables, plus the olives. Pour in all of the dressing, and toss gently to coat everything with the dressing.
Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours.
More salad recipes with feta cheese:
Tangerine and feta salad
Cauliflower salad with white beans, feta and pine nuts
Lentil and chicken salad with raisins and feta cheese
Watermelon, feta and arugula salad with orange vinaigrette
Barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad with zahtar dressing
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Velvety broccoli and feta pasta, from The Kitchn
Creamy feta Greek style cucumber pasta salad, from Picky Palate
Squash pasta with yogurt, peas and chile, from The Year in Food
Cucumber yogurt feta dip, from Give Recipe
Almost cheeseless pasta casserole, from 101 Recipes
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