When I was pondering what to say about this light-but-satisfying, Mediterranean-style salad, four simple words came to mind: low effort, high reward. It’s a bowlful of flavor that everyone seems to like, from my 2-year-old niece to my (almost) 82-year-old dad.
Adding to its appeal, this salad comes together quickly and can be bolstered with chicken, steak or seafood to make a complete meal. To really ratchet up the flavor, I like to use some of the dressing to marinate chicken or seafood.
Though you may certainly swap out the Absolutely Famous Greek Dressing for your favorite bottled Greek or red wine vinaigrette, I promise you that the few minutes required to whip up this homemade option are well worth it. You can even mix it several days in advance to make the salad prep a real breeze. I truly think it’s what makes this pasta salad so much more than the sum of its parts.
And then, when you’re relaxing around the table with family or friends, I can almost guarantee that compliments will abound….and you’ll wish that every meal would yield such proportionately high praise for the effort that went into it!
- 12 ounces fusilli, rotini, or other short, tubular pasta (use gluten-free if necessary)
- 8 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) cherry, grape, or vine-ripened tomatoes (halved if small; seeded and chopped if large)
- 1 cucumber, seeded and diced (peeled if desired)
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved or sliced
- 1/4 of a small red onion, sliced as thinly as possible
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (may substitute a cup or so of baby spinach, arugula, or finely chopped kale)
- 4 ounces (about 1 cup) feta cheese, crumbled
- Absolutely Famous Greek Dressing (see notes)
Prepare the dressing by mixing everything in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store it in the refrigerator, and shake well prior to using. The flavor of the dressing will improve over several hours or overnight; prepare it ahead if possible. The dressing will keep for a week or more in the fridge.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well, and toss with a tablespoon or so of the dressing to keep the noodles from sticking as they cool and while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
When the pasta is cool, place it in a serving bowl, and add the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onion, and parsley. Drizzle with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the dressing and toss well. (Reserve any leftover dressing to pass at the table or save for future use.) Add the crumbled feta, toss again, and enjoy.
- In a pinch, feel free to substitute your favorite bottled Greek dressing, although this recipe adds great flavor and is easy to make!
The upper corner of the bottom photo shows grilled chicken that was marinated and basted with Absolutely Famous Greek Dressing & Marinade. It’s a high-flavor, low-effort way to make a complete meal out of the pasta salad. Serve the grilled breasts alongside or chop and stir into the salad. For an added serving of greens, feel free to toss in some baby spinach or arugula.