Weekend Food Prep: Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This is great all-in-one, well-balanced meal that preps well over the weekend and keeps all week in the fridge. I like it for lunches in the summer, when I want to stay out of the kitchen and eat something cool and refreshing but still satisfying. I usually make it a complete meal with a side of chicken, but you could easily keep it as a vegetarian entrée and toss in some canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or a side of grilled tofu. Like any salad, once you get the basics figured out, this is endlessly variable with what you have on hand and your personal preferences.

Photo description: Three bowls of pasta salad. The top one is open and does not yet have a lid. Beside the stack of bowls, there is a fork.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

one. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook 6 oz. dried pasta (I prefer rotini best, but any smaller pasta will do). Drain and set aside.

two. While the pasta is cooking, prepare and either toss together in a large bowl or divide between 6 smaller bowls with lids:
3 chopped bell peppers (I like a mix of colors)
1 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes (if you are storing this for lunches all week, I suggest you keep them whole to preserve their texture)
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion or a few green onions
1 15oz can brined artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped parsley

three. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing:
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
A few good grinds of fresh black pepper
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes

four. Toss the cooled pasta with the vegetables. If you are putting it into 6 bowls, it’s about 3/4 cup of pasta per bowl.

five. Give the dressing a good whisking again and then toss with the pasta mixture. If you’re dividing into bowls, it’s about 1 Tbs. dressing per bowl.

six. Serve chilled. Yields 6 servings as a main course, maybe twice that as a side dish.

Photo description: A plate with grilled chicken and pasta salad. You can see tomatoes, bell pepper chunks and parsley mixed in with the noodles.

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