Chilled Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Chocolate University

Chilled Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This salad packs a lot of interesting flavors into each bite. From the peppery taste of fresh arugula to the salty appeal of Kalamata olives, preserved lemons, and Feta cheese, there is nothing bland or boring about this dish. Yet, its strong flavors aren’t overwhelming because they are tempered by the satisfying addition of penne pasta and fresh herbs. This robust salad has enough presence to serve as a light, yet satisfying, main course – or it can act as the perfect complement to more neutral dishes, like grilled chicken breast or a mild white fish.

NOTE: You can use fresh or preserved lemons to make this recipe, but reserved lemons will add more intense flavor. You can either buy a container of preserved lemons or make your own with Himalayan salt blocks. If using preserved lemons, taste before adding additional salt.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes (includes time to cook pasta)
Serves: 4-6

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

¾ c. extra virgin olive oil
¼ c. white balsamic vinegar
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. Dijon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Chilled Mediterranean Pasta Salad Ingredients:

1 16-oz. box penne pasta, cooked according to package directions and cooled
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
12-15 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
2 t. fresh oregano leaves
½ c. Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
¼ medium red onion, thinly sliced
½ c. fresh or preserved organic lemon, chopped into small chunks with rinds
2 c. fresh arugula
2 T. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
3 oz. block Feta cheese, cut into equal sized chunks

Directions:

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1. To make the vinaigrette, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard together in a small bowl until blended smooth. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and set aside.

2. Add olive oil and garlic to a cold pan and set heat to medium high. Sauté for approximately 1 minute before adding chopped tomato. Cook for 3 minutes or until the tomato softens. Remove from heat and set aside.

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3. In a large bowl, combine the warm tomato and garlic mixture with the basil, oregano, olives, red onion and preserved lemons. Add the cooked pasta, arugula and both types of cheese.

4. Add the vinaigrette and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Toss to combine, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

 

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