Pasta salad just seems to go with summertime, doesn't it? I mean, who wants a pasta salad in the dead of winter? Well, maybe some do, but not me - I'm all about soups come wintertime.
But pasta paired with garden vegetables and other ingredients like meat, cheese or olives is a perfect one-dish meal for warmer weather. Spicy chicken noodle salad makes routine appearances on our family's menus, as does summer pasta salad with tomatoes and green beans, one of my favorite ways to use our summer garden harvest. Hey...pasta salad with tomatoes and green beans - that sounds pretty similar, doesn't it?That's because when you've got a favorite, it's usually a win to come up with another flavor combo using the main ingredients, this time pasta (duh...), green beans, tomatoes and olives.
So, how is this different? This morphs from Italian into a Greek style dish with the substitution of Kalamata olives for regular, feta cheese instead of parmesan and oregano rather than basil. I added salami to make it more of a main dish meal for our meat loving family and dressed it with a garlic-lemon vinaigrette. And then, because I grow them and they are so good they may make you want to weep, I used heirloom Black Cherry tomatoes that I simply cut in half.
The result? Holy cow is this good - I may not make the original version again (at least for awhile, ha!).
I do have a teeny-tiny confession: we don't eat pasta much anymore. It used to be a weekly occurrence on our menus but now is more of a monthly one. We just find ourselves eating less and less grains at dinner (I hardly make our easy artisan bread much, either, believe it or not!) and filling up more with vegetables. So when I do make pasta, like this salad, I load it up with lots of other ingredients and use about half the amount of pasta I used to.
We may have to make an exception for this salad, though. And wouldn't it make a great dish to take to a potluck? I think everyone would be pretty happy you brought this - you would be, like, queen (or king) of the potluck I bet.
Greek Style Pasta Salad with Green Beans & Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice about 1 large lemon
- 2 tablespoons apple cider or rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano minced (or 1 teaspoon dry)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 pound pasta any shape
- 1 pound green beans trimmed and cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
- 1 sweet onion sliced into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or diced plum tomatoes
- 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- 8 ounces sliced salami cut into bite-sized pieces (optional)
- 1/3 cups quartered Kalamata olives
- Cook pasta according to package, but set a timer for halfway done. At the half point, add the prepared green beans to the pot and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes (note: we like our beans crisp - you can add yours along with the pasta if you want them to cook the full 10 minutes). Drain pasta with beans and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette dressing: Mix lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard, salt and pepper together and then whisk in the olive oil until well combined. Set aside.
- Add the pasta and beans to a large bowl and mix with half of the dressing to absorb while prepping the other ingredients.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl as you prep them and toss everything with the rest of the dressing.
- Serve immediately.