Saturday, August 15, 2015

summer pasta salad made lighter

I will be the first one to profess my love for macaroni salad or a creamy potato salad, both covered in mayo.

BUT-why not try something else? Greek yogurt has become a staple on every grocery store visit. What used to be the base for my smoothies is now also a salad dressing component, a sauce for latkes, a veggie dip and the coating for a delicious and light summer pasta salad.

The ironic part about this is that I made this recipe on the least summery day we have had in Seattle. Since moving here in June, we have experienced record temps in June (hottest ever!!) and July while never seeing it drop below 70. Until the day I made this pasta salad, as it rained in sheets for hours and hours and I sipped hot cocoa on the couch.

I was originally inspired to make this salad after finding mini farfalle (bow tie pasta) at the store and realizing it had been forever since I whipped up a pasta salad. The greek yogurt lends the creamy texture I crave, and by thinning it out with lemon juice and olive oil, it perfectly coats the pasta. The peppers add a great crunch and feta balances out the sweetness of the tomatoes perfectly.

Make this before summer is over!

summer pasta salad 
(serves about 10-halve the recipe if you don't plan on bringing to a party or eating this for at least a week like me)

1 pound of pasta-your choice!
1 cup of bell peppers (red, orange and yellow), diced. I cut mine pretty small, but any bite sized chop would work
1 cup grape or mini heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup of feta, cubed
1/4 cup parsley, diced
2 tbsp of salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 and a half cups greek yogurt (I used 0%)
juice and zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup of olive oil

  • bring a pot of water to boil, add 1 tbsp of salt and pasta, cook per directions, drain and transfer to a large bowl
  • mix yogurt, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, remaining salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and whisk together. You should have a thinned out consistency that still sticks to the back of a spoon without running when you run your finger through it
tip: if its too thin, add a tbsp of yougurt and stir in; if too thick add a bit more olive oil in. as with all my recipes, its not an exact science
  • pour the mixture over the still warm pasta and toss
  • once well combined, add remaining ingredients and toss together
  • serve warm, room temp or chilled right from the fridge
The best part about this is how many variations you can make of this. Of course, any pasta would work and I love orzo or elbows for any pasta salad. But the veggie and cheese options are endless: mozzarella would be really delicious, or any cubed, hard cheese (this is probably the only time I would pass up the goat cheese, since its mild creaminess may get overpowered by the sauce. Shocking, I know.) Shred carrots and zucchini, dice up grapes, toss in arugula. You can even do lemon juice and oil and skip the greek yogurt--though after you try it, I doubt you will want to.

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