Howdy, friends! How goes it? Spring is in the air, and I am loving it! Definitely have to enjoy these 70 degree days because it’ll be 90+ degrees here before long. Whew, dreading that a bit. But until then, this gorgeous spring sunshine makes me happy, and it also makes me crave lots of fresh veggies, so it’s time to bust out the Greek Pasta Salad. I’ve been making this colorful salad for nearly 10 years now, and it’s no doubt one of our favorite warm weather salads.
You can throw this salad together in no time, and you can even make it ahead of time and let it sit in all its yumminess until you need it. Of course, this salad is perfectly fantastic on day one, but it’s even better on day two or three, after all the flavors have had time to do a happy dance together. Therefore, it’s perfect for a picnic, a family gathering, or even for a week’s worth of lunches. Score!
This recipe is made with orzo, which are tiny pasta shaped a bit like rice. Although, I must say, my orzo seemed gigantic this time around, and not quite as small as rice. You can certainly substitute quinoa, or perhaps even brown rice, if you’d like. You can also easily halve this recipe, if need be. Customize it to your liking to make it your own. That’s what being in the kitchen is all about, after all.
You’ll love just how fresh and crunchy this salad is from all the raw vegetables. The Kalamata olives and feta cheese lend the perfect salty bite, and the pepper rings give it a bit of a punch, but they certainly aren’t hot. As for the dressing, all you need are a few ingredients and you can whip it up in seconds. The dressing is smooth and lovely, with a touch of tang from the vinegar, plus it’s garlicky, and pungent from the Dijon mustard, but not overly so. Feel free to add a little extra vinegar, if you like things a bit more on the tangy side.
This is a great feel-good meal that everyone will enjoy. Who doesn’t love healthy?! Go on now and eat the colors of the rainbow! Love that saying, so I think it’ll be my new motto for this spring and summer. It just feels fresh and happy…and kind of brings a smile to my face! :)
Greek Pasta Salad
Yields 8 servings, as a main dish
For the salad
- 1 lb. orzo pasta
- 1 pint grape tomatoes—halved or quartered
- 1 large cucumber—peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 (6 oz.) jar pitted kalamata olives—sliced into rounds
- 2 bell peppers—seeded and diced
- 1 red onion—sliced thin
- 1 cup mild pepper rings—chopped
- ½ – ¾ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 8 oz. crumbled feta cheese
For the dressing
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic—minced
- ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
For the salad
Cook orzo according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
To a very large bowl, add the tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, bell peppers, red onion, pepper rings, salt, and pepper. Mix with a spoon until well combined. Add the cooked orzo and feta cheese and mix until just combined.
For the dressing
Add all the ingredients to a mason jar, put the lid on, and shake until well combined. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Serve cold. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Love.Bake.Read, with dressing slightly adapted from The Food Network.