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
cherry or grape tomatoes
dry fusille, gemelli, farfalle, or small shell pasta
pitted kalamata olives
red bell pepper
medium red onion
crumbled feta cheese
plain Greek yogurt
red wine vinegar
In This Recipe
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.