Multi-Color Mediterranean Pasta Salad
A delicious Mediterranean inspired pasta salad that can be enjoyed for lunch, a picnic, a side for dinner or for a potluck. Don't worry if you don't have all the ingredients on hand, simply boil some pasta and chop up a few raw veggies. The more colors you can add to the salad the better!
- 8 ounces cavatappi or other dry pasta such as fusilli or bowtie
- 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 medium yellow or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small zucchini, finely chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
- 4 ounces block feta cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1 (15-ounce) can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Adapted from verywell.com
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
In a large bowl, toss together all of the ingredients with the cooked and cooled pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.Ingredient Variations and Substitutions
Cavatappi is a helix-shaped pasta that is great for pasta salad as it can catch the vegetables, herbs, and dressing with it's shape. Other great pasta salad shapes include fusilli or bowtie pasta.
You can use whole wheat pasta for extra fiber, or even a mix of whole wheat and white pasta for color, flavor, and texture variation. For a gluten-free, high protein and fiber variation, try quinoa instead of pasta.
This recipe works great with chickpeas instead of white beans. Play around with the vegetables—you could use fresh or frozen peas, fresh corn, chopped spinach, or finely chopped broccoli. For the cheese, you could use a cubed ricotta salata, fresh mozzarella, or goat cheese, or try shredded Parmesan instead of the feta.
The possibilities are endless, but the main idea is to fill your pasta salad with loads of fresh colorful vegetables and herbs, a little plant-based protein, and some healthy fats.
Cooking and Serving Tips:
To store a bunch of fresh basil, place into a mini jar or vase and fill with water like you would a bouquet of flowers. Place a large plastic or zipped bag over the basil leaves.
This helps keep the basil leaves fresh so they do not brown immediately. Leftover basil can be used to make pesto or salad dressing, and the leaves offer a nice zing when added to sandwiches.
To cut the basil into ribbons, a technique known as a chiffonade, stack two to three basil leaves on top of each other and roll them up tightly.
Thinly slice the leave perpendicular to the roll.
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