After a while, pasta salads get boring. You know, macaroni salad can only be macaroni salad, even if you add BBQ sauce to it to kick it up a notch. But this salad kicks it up more than a one notch — its a whole couple of rungs higher up the ladder!
Colorful and full of really great things to be a side to whatever is on the grill. For a main course salad, add chicken or tuna chunks and all the cooking you have to do is the pasta! A one pot meal! How about that for simple?
The nice part is if you’re having a pool party, or just setting food out for the family and the gang to help themselves, without mayonnaise you don’t have to think twice about this – except maybe making a double batch so there will be enough to go around!
PS: Turn this into a meal by adding leftover chicken or turkey, or chunks of Italian Salami.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- 1lb. Multi-colored Fusilli or Rotini pasta
- 2/3 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil (this is the time to bring out the good one!)
- 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2-3 anchovies, drained and mashed (optional)
- 1-2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (optional – I’d leave it out)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 6-8 bacon strips, cooked, drained and roughly chopped
- 1-1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 c sliced black or green olives
- 1 c Feta cheese, crumbled
Cook the pasta according to package directions, usually about 11 to 13 minutes until ‘al dente’. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly and return to pot.
While pasta is cooking, make the salad dressing. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard and (mashed anchovies, if using) and mix well. If using the mayo to thicken, whisk it in until well blended. I leave it out, myself. Add salt and pepper to taste (watch the salt if you use the anchovies as they can be salty). Set aside.
When pasta is complete cool and drained, pour dressing over pasta. Toss lightly. Add all remaining ingredients and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Without the mayo, this salad can remain out on a holiday buffet without concern.