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.
This Mediterranean Pasta Salad packs a lot of amazing 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.
Weird ingredient alert! You can use fresh or preserved lemons to make this recipe. I recommend trying the preserved lemons because they add more intense flavor. You can either buy a make your own (affiliate link, I may receive a commission for any purchase made through the link) or easily make your own (in about a months time).
A word of caution, however, if you use preserved lemons, taste before adding additional salt. With the olives and feta you may not want any more.
[click_to_tweet tweet="Tired of boring pasta salad? This Mediterranean Pasta Salad is a flavor explosion. #pastasalad #healthyrecipe" quote="Tired of boring pasta salad? This Mediterranean Pasta Salad is a flavor explosion. " theme="style2"]
- 1 pound penne pasta (cooked according to package directions)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 Large tomato (chopped with seeds and excess liquid removed)
- 15 Large fresh basil leaves (cut into thin strips)
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves (stems removed and chopped)
- ½ cup Kalamata olives
- ¼ cup red onion (thinly sliced)
- ½ cup preserved or fresh lemons (chopped)
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (grated)
- 3 ounces feta cheese (cut into small cubes)
- ¾ cups extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard together in a small bowl until blended smooth.
- Add olive oil and garlic to a cold pan and set heat to medium high. Sauté for approximately 2 minutes before adding chopped tomato. Cook for 3 minutes or until the tomato softens. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked tomato and garlic mixture with the basil, oregano, olives, red onion and preserved lemons. Add the cooked pasta, arugula and both types of cheese. Finally, add the vinaigrette and toss to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
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