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Greek Pasta Salad With A Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette

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Ina Garten was the inspiration for this salad. She did an episode on making pasta three different ways. This Greek pasta salad caught my eye. I wanted to make it with a couple of changes. What’s really cool about this recipe is, in the time it takes to cook the pasta, you can have all the veggies chopped and the salad dressing made. This is my Greek Pasta Salad With A Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette.

Hot House Cucumber

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Red Onion

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Kalamata Olives (2)

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E.V.O.O.

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Greek Pasta Salad With A Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette

Photo Mar 09, 7 43 11 PM

Photo Mar 09, 7 43 07 PM

 

 

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart saucepot, colander, large mixing bowl, large serving bowl, mini food processor

Ingredients:
2 hothouse or English cucumbers, diced into 1-inch chunks
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons then quartered
2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup of Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
10 ounces of good Greek Feta, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 pound of fusilli pasta, cooked, rinsed until cold and drained
2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients For Sun-dried Tomato Dressing:
2 tablespoon of drained capers
2 garlic cloves
8 sun-dried tomatoes, drained (packed in oil)
1 tablespoon of Agave nectar
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh sprig of mint for garnish

Directions For Dressing:
Add the sun drained sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and garlic into a food processor. Pulse until they are finely minced. Next, add in the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Kosher salt, black pepper, and Agave nectar. Pulse the ingredients to combine. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the *E.V.O.O whisking until the dressing comes together.

Directions:
In a large bowl, place all the diced vegetables. To the vegetables, add in the well-drained, cooked pasta. Pour in half of the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette and stir through. This gives the hot pasta a chance to absorb those flavors. Finely, add in the cubed Feta, freshly chopped herbs, and remaining dressing. Gently toss the diced Feta (so to keeps its integrity) and herbs through until all the ingredients are well combined.

Serve the salad at room temperature or chill in the frig and serve cold. Garnish with a sprig of mint. This is my Greek Pasta Salad With A Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

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Panzanella Salad

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Having my daughter visit recently, I needed to make a “meat-free” dish for her. Now, in our house, Steve loves “meat-free” meals, once and a while, however; for the main course, he prefers to have some type of protein. I’m thinking what better way to do this than with a Panzanella Salad that makes everyone happy. This traditional Italian salad is basically a tomato and bread salad. Today I’m going to put a spin on tradition.

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Feta

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Homemade Croutons

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Prep Time:: 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheets pans, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, whisk, Chef’s knife, large serving bowl with utensils

Ingredients For Salad:
1 English cucumber, cut into half-moons then cut half-moon in half
1/2 red onion sliced into thinly sliced half-moon
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 pint of red and grape tomatoes, halved
1 pint of yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zested
3/4 pound of Genoa salami, diced (optional)
6 ounces of Feta cheese, diced
4 to 6 cups of Homemade Croutons
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Ingredients For Croutons, Oven Bake Method:
4 to 6 cups of bread cubes, 1 1/2-inch size cubes (1 loaf of Tuscan Ciabatta garlic loaf, or plain Ciabatta)
1/4 cup of olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Ingredients For Lemon Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (3 to 4 juicy lemons)
2 tablespoons of shallots, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Directions For The Oven Bake Method.
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to evenly coat the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to make sure they brown evenly.

Note: The Homemade Croutons will absorb the dressing better when warm.

In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, add the diced cucumber, halved tomatoes, sliced onions, diced bell pepper, lemon zest, and chopped basil, gently toss to combine.

In a small serving bowl add the diced Genoa salami allowing the option to add it to the individual Panzanella Salad once served.

This vinaigrette can be made while the croutons are in the oven.
In a medium-size mixing bowl add 1/4 fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, grated garlic, dried oregano, Agave nectar, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the  *E.V.O.O. whisk to combine.

Once the croutons are done, immediately transfer them into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Finally, add the diced Feta cheese, gently toss to combine.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

 

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