Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weeknight Dinner: Greek Pasta Salad

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Pasta salads were always "just" a side dish for me.  For many years, macaroni salad, potato salad, and cole slaw were traditional side salads all through the summer.  My mom made the best of them all (to my biased palate).  And it always marked the beginning of summer when the macaroni salad would appear next to the hamburger, hot dog, or steak. 

When I am without John, I often will make a pasta salad on Monday and eat it for a few days, mixing it up between lunch and dinner. It's fast, easy, and most importantly, cold!  The last thing I want to be eating is hot food after a hot subway ride.  The second to last thing I want to be doing is cooking, so this satisfies both.  I also will throw in an assortment of vegetables (literally whatever happens to be lying around the house).However, when I saw this Greek Pasta Salad at Let's Dish, I knew it could satisfy as a meal for both John and I. 

The addition of pepperoni is always met happily by my boyfriend, and the addition of lots of vegetables meant this pasta salad could be the star of the show!  We headed off to the farmer's market to get the much needed elements.  Once home, I realized that I had no more red wine vinegar.  This rarely happens to me, so I did the next best thing.  I added red wine and white vinegar.  I made it since with the right vinegar and I like the red wine a lot better than it's vinegary counterpart.  So, I have adapted the recipe!  Don't be alarmed but the red wine will probably stain the pasta. 
Greek Pasta Salad (adapted from here)
Serves:  4-6
1 box pasta (rotini)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in quarters
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 white onion, diced
4 ounces black olives, sliced
1/2 cup pepperoni, sliced in halves

Make the pasta according to package instructions.  Meanwhile, combine olive oil, red wine, and white vinegar.  Whisk until it does not separate.  Then, whisk in pepper and herbs (use dried if you prefer).  When the pasta is cooked, toss it with cold water.  Then, toss with oil-vinegar mixture.  Add tomatoes, pepper, onion, olives, and pepperoni.  Cover and let chill at least 2-3 hours.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

While the ingredient list is long, most of the vegetables can be substituted for what you have on hand.  I have now made this a few times throwing in mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, etc.  I've even thrown in spinach and every time the dish tastes great and is devoured.

We added a chicken breast on top and cut back on the pepperoni (I only put in 2 slices on top of each of our plates).  However, for the sake of the recipe, I kept the pepperoni the same and left out the chicken (which was just grilled and then sliced).

Until the next time my oven is on...

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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