If you’re like me, you love the traditional flavors of Whole Wheat Greek Pasta Salad, but when you give it a try with whole wheat noodles, you’ve just upped your healthy foodie factor in a big way.
There I was, sitting in front of my computer staring at the deliciousness that resonated from the final edit on the summer issue of FoodieCrush magazine when the sudden craving for a salty burst of balsamic/basil/tomato flavors hit me smack in the flavor senses.
Before I get too far into the thick of the tomato, I must say a big thank you and send virtual fist pumps, high fives and air kisses to everyone who has checked out, commented, tweeted and Facebooked about the new issue and the bloggers, recipes and interviews that are featured in it’s flippable online pages.
If you haven’t taken a look yet, please do, and definitely click over to the linked food blogger’s sites to see more of their delicious tastes.
Now, back to our pasta at hand.
I’ve been on a caprese kick of late, what with my Avocado Caprese Wrap, Quinoa and Burrata Caprese Salad and a beyond the standard Caprese Sandwich (is that mozzarella too thick? NOT!) which hasn’t waned much so far as I can tell.
And this was the day that pasta had wiggled its way to my frontal cortex.
Off to the kitchen and and a quick raid of the pantry resulted in a half of a box of whole wheat noodles, some salty kalamata olives and capers and a bowl of ripe campari tomatoes.
I’d stocked up on roasted red bell peppers on my last forage of the shelves at Home Goods and found a bottle with both red and yellow roasted lovelies at the back of the shelf. All that was left was a snip or two of fresh basil from the garden and another layer of salty feta.
My sodium levels were satiated thanks to this mediterranean beauty.
While this recipe isn’t necessarily a caprese, it does incorporate a lot of the same flavors. Or as the judges say on Top Chef, “a similar flavor profile.” But since I’m not nearly as couth as they are, I’ll just tell you it’s just. good. food.
Notes about the recipe:
- This recipe makes for a great lunch or meatless meal for two. If you’re making for a crowd or the whole family as a side, just double the recipe.
- While this makes for a delicious meatless meal, it’s dang tasty topped with a half of a can of water packed tuna or a few slices of chicken breast to compliment the mediterranean flavors.
- I forgot the artichoke hearts, left them right there in their unopened can on the pantry shelf. My favorite part. You should add them for sure. I like mine packed in water.
Whole wheat pasta will be a bit more toothsome than regular flour pasta, so while it may seem undercooked, it might actually be just right. Follow the package directions for best results.
The pasta will soak up the dressing the longer it sits, especially if refrigerated, thanks to the gluten thickening up. If you must refrigerate before serving, you may want to make an extra dose of the balsamic vinaigrette to freshen up the pasta before serving.
- ½ pound whole wheat penne pasta
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped or cut into ⅛ths (about 1 cup)
- ⅓ cup roasted red and/or yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- ¼ cup sliced kalamata olives, sliced in half
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- pinch of sugar
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup basil, slivered
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil, add a generous dose of kosher salt and the cook whole wheat penne pasta according to package directions or until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano, sugar, kosher salt and black pepper in a small mason jar or any container with a lid and shake well. Add the tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, capers and kalamata olives to a medium bowl and pour the dressing over the vegetables and let sit for 15 minutes for flavors to combine.
- Add to the pasta and basil slivers to the veggie blend and fold. Season with more kosher salt and black pepper to taste and garnish with crumbled feta cheese. Add more olive oil if the pasta seems dry. Serve and enjoy.
And now, a few more Mediterranean inspired salads from some fab food bloggers. If you’d like to Pin one of these tasty recipes, please click through to the blogger’s site to do so.
Always inventive, Kathryne melds classic Greek inspired flavors with raw zucchini and yellow squash to accent whole wheat Israeli cous cous in Cookie and Kate‘s Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Raw Squash.
Absent are the salty flavors my palate was craving, but Lindsay’s addition of shrimp, dill and cucumber more than made up for what I wasn’t missing in Pinch of Yum‘s Mediterranean flavored Shrimp and Feta Orzo
Thanks to the maze we all experience when looking for one special ingredient, this Greek Lentil Orzo from Branny Boils Over hits all the high notes including orzo pasta, red lentils and the spunk of red wine vinegar. Not a fan of feta? ‘Branny’ suggests mozzarella cheese as a sub. Now if we could only find out her real name…
Watermelon, everyone’s favorite summer staple, gets a makeover with a twist when Katie pulls together this meatless dinner in under 30 minutes. Take a seat folks, Greek Couscous Salad with Watermelon and Feta from Katie at the Kitchen Door is served.
Picking up on the orzo theme, Cassie finds a way to make it her own with one of my favorite ingredients on everything from sandwiches to pasta: banana peppers. Combined with a touch of pesto, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, Bake Your Day‘s Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is anything but ordinary.
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