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Author Notes: One of my favorite things about summer is taking things from my garden and using them in just about everything I cook. It's so much fun to pop out to the patio to snip herbs and visit my planters for vegetables that inspire some interesting dishes. Cold pasta salad is a favorite of mine. This particular dish uses plenty of fresh herbs and veggies from my garden and a few other ingredients to make a tasty and healthy meal. As a way to beat the summer heat, I often prepare the pasta in the cooler morning hours and refrigerate it until lunch or dinner time. This works as a great dish to enjoy while relaxing with friends on your outdoor furniture while you wait for your meat to grill at dinner time. —Megan Brown
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 pound dry fusille, gemelli, farfalle, or small shell pasta
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup fresh mint
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 zucchini
- 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Bring two quarts of water to a boil in a 5-quart saucepan and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box for al dente pasta. Pour into a strainer and run cold water over the pasta until cool. When cooled, pour the pasta into a large bowl, mix in the olive oil and put into the fridge.
- Cut the cherry or grape tomatoes into halves or quarters.
- Chop the red bell pepper into chunks measuring no more than ½" in any direction.
- Cut the red onion in half lengthwise, slice it lengthwise and then cut the slices in half so they are not more than a couple inches long.
- Use a vegetable peeler to create zucchini ribbons, approximately ½" to 1" wide and about 3 inches long.
- Coarsely chop the fresh spinach.
- Finely chop the fresh basil, mint and parsley.
- Cut the Kalamata olives in half.
- Mix all of these ingredients, plus the feta cheese, in with the cooked pasta.
- Combine the ingredients for the salad dressing in a small bowl, pour the dressing over the pasta salad and coat evenly.
- This dish serves eight as a light lunch or appetizer or four to six people as a main course. You can prepare it up to eight hours before serving and refrigerate it until it’s time to eat. Just make sure to give it a good stir before serving to make sure the dressing is thoroughly mixed.