Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Summer time is approaching, which means picnic, pot-lucks, cook-outs, and bikini season. Don't just go to the grocery store and pick up a pound of pasta or macaroni salad when you can make it at home and know exactly what ingredients are going into the salad and what fat and calories you are keeping out. By mixing distinct flavors of Italy and Greece, you'll have a delicious, fresh tasting Mediterranean pasta salad that's quick, easy, budget-friendly and healthy.

Pepperoncini peppers add a little kick here and there, so add more if you like a little extra spicy-ness and tangy-ness or a little less if that's not for your palate. I am not a fan of olives, but if you are, they would make a great addition to the Mediterranean flavors of this pasta salad. This recipe yields about 9 cups of pasta salad

What you need:
1 box whole wheat, shaped pasta (I used 13.25 oz box of whole wheat rotini)
2 small tomatoes, pureed
1 cup diced carrots
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
6 oz Feta Cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup shredded parmesan, romano, asiago cheese blend
4 oz Turkey Pepperoni, diced
8-10 pepperoncini peppers, sliced
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
3 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup of your favorite Italian salad dressing (homemade or from the bottle - I used fat free)
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste

What you do:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, add salt to water before boiling.
2. While pasta cooks, prepare all other ingredients and combine in large mixing bowl. (I used a mini food processor to puree, chop and dice my ingredients and saved a lot of time)
3. Once pasta cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
4. Add pasta to other ingredients in mixing bowl and top with Italian salad dressing and fresh cracked pepper. Toss to coat.
5. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins before serving.

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