Happy Thursday! Almost the end of the week, now that my weeks no longer begin on a Wednesday. I have much more of an appreciation for Friday and the weekend. Having free nights and weekends has allowed me to finally make a more normalized schedule for coming up with new recipes, photographing them, and posting them on the site.
I’ve been on the hunt for some DIY photo backdrops and backgrounds to take photos on. Another plus, since I rely mainly on natural light, summer brings longer hours and more sun light, which means more opportunities to take photos.
To me, the photos are the most challenging part, some things I have made in the past look great in person, but then once I start taking photos of the dish, it doesn’t look as vibrant and delicious.
Now I do still use my phone to take pictures for my food blog, but I will point out the iPhone X, takes some pretty great photos, one day I will decide it’s time for a better more e”professional” camera and artificial lighting, but for now my make shift way is working.
I love making pasta salad for lunch during the week, not only is it extremely budget friendly, but there are a million combinations of noodles, sauces, and add in’s. Some of my favorite lettuce based salads are Cobb salad, Greek salad, and any southwest salad.
I figured a Greek salad would translate very well into a pasta salad, so that’s what I made. I kept with all the traditional Greek toppings, but you could definitely add in some unique ingredients. I like to typically use orzo for my pasta salads, I know orzo isn’t always thought of as a pasta but it’s one of my favorites.
But I didn’t have any orzo I just had a box of this radiator, which I think looks nice in a cold salad such as this. I added all the traditional toppings, cherry tomatoes, cucumber Kalamata olives, red onion, and crumbled feta. I kept my veggies pretty large, more for the presentation, but feel free to chop them up smaller if it is easier.
Try some of my other unique salad recipes:
Start by bringing a large stock pot of salted water to a boil, add in the uncooked pasta and cook according to package directions. Once cooked, drain, and rinse with cold water. I know everything says never to rinse pasta, never. But here is your excuse to and here’s why. Typically when you cook pasta, you are serving it hot with some type of sauce. When you serve pasta with sauce the starch on the outside of the noodles is what allows the sauce to stick. Since we are not serving this with a traditional sauce, we do not need that additional starch to help the sauce stick. Therefore, you can rinse your noodles.
While the noodles are cooking you can dice up your veggies, like I said I left mine in bigger chunks, but chop them smaller if desired. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, chop up the cucumbers, I used English cucumbers so I didn’t have to worry about seeds. Slice the onions, and olives and crumble the feta, add all this into a large mixing bowl. Add in the cooked and cooled pasta.
In a separate mixing bowl combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbed vinegar if on hand, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Mix to combine, drizzle all of the dressing over the pasta, toss to combine. Serve cold, enjoy immediately or allow to sit for up to 4 days. In my opinion pasta salad gets better as it sits, but don’t let it sit for too long!
- 12 ounces Dry pasta
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup Kalamata olive, sliced
- 4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
- Half of a red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 2 Small garlic cloves minced minced
- 2 tbsp Herb vinegar, if on hand
- 3 tbsp Fresh chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large stockpot of generously-salted water until cooked. Drain pasta, then rinse under cold water for about 20-30 seconds until no longer hot. Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- For the vinaigrette combine the olive oil, vinegar's, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add diced cucumber, halved tomatoes, sliced kalamata olives, feta cheese, and sliced red onion to the mixing bowl, then drizzle all of the vinaigrette evenly on top. Toss until all of the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
- Serve immediately, garnished with extra feta and black pepper if desired.