Monday, April 28, 2014

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

The Greek economy is still in the tank, but their food (and ancient philosophers) are still as delicious as ever!
It's salad week here on Crowdsource My Dinner! Yes, that's right, a whole week devoted to that summertime classic, the salad.

Of course, some people have really nailed that healthy eating thing, and they eat salads year round (complete with pomegranate seeds in the winter).  For me, salads are a summertime/ when I am visiting my mom kind of thing, and here in North Carolina we cracked 80 degrees on the thermometer so summer has officially started!  In the summer, produce is not only abundant, it tastes much better than it does at other times in the year, so its a perfect time to shove antioxidants into your belly.

The inaugural salad for salad week is this refreshing yet substantial Mediterranean pasta salad. I love Greek food (evidenced by the Pita bread, Tabouli, and Gyros recipes), but its not a flavor profile that I have a ton of experience creating.  This pasta salad was an easy way for me to experiment with the elements of Greek food that I love without worrying that my technique wasn't exactly perfect.  And I loaded the salad with meat because that's really the only way to make a pasta dish filling.

When I was a kid, my dad would eat my mom's chicken pasta salad with a large serving spoon because he felt it was the only way it would fill him up.  Being my father's daughter, I am always skeptical when someone mentions a "filling salad."  As a result, I will make no such claims here, but I will mention that after eating this, I did not eat again for six hours, and I did not even cry about it one time.

I will, however, claim that this salad is delicious.  The chicken is bursting with flavor, and the flavors of the Mediterranean are vibrant enough to wake up any tired palate.  I loved incorporating the different and alliterative vegetables into this meal: crisp Kale, crunchy cucumbers, robust roasted red (peppers), oily olives, odiferous onions, aromatic artichokes and perfect pasta.

In all seriousness, pasta salad is a great way to enjoy the vibrant flavors of Greece.  I made sure to use a wide variety of vegetables to be sure that the salad had sweet, briny, crunchy and potent elements.  The result was flavorful juicy roasted chicken paired with al dente farfalle tossed in a citrus vinagrette and then married with the medley of vegetable flavors.  What could be better on a summer afternoon?

Maybe it's not quite summer where you live.  Well, you can feel free to enjoy this anyhow, because this little guy will bring you a little bit of sunshine.

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad
The vibrant flavors of Greece in a pasta salad. Adding feta cheese would be a wonderful addition.
  • 1 Pound Farfalle Pasta- Cooked Al Dente
  • 1.5 Cups Shredded Chicken Breast
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Rosemary
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Small Red Onion- Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper- Sliced
  • 6 Ounces Black Olives- Sliced
  • 2 Ounces Marinated Artichokes- Sliced
  • 1/2 Cucumber- Peeled and Sliced
  • 1 Cup Kale
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Lemon Lemon Juice
  • 3 Cloves Pressed Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
1. Cook and cool pasta. Add a bit of olive oil to prevent it from becoming sticky.2. In a small frying pan, heat a small amount of olive oil. Add chicken and spices. Cook until chicken is heated through.3. Whisk together Olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and sugar to create a dressing.4. Toss pasta, chicken and dressing in a large salad bowl5. Add all vegetables to the top of the salad and gently stir them in. Try really hard to keep all the olives from not dropping to the bottom of the bowl.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 Servings

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