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What Is Greek Pasta Salad?

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  • Written By: Cynde Gregory
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 10 July 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Most home cooks and those they feed are partial to pasta salad. To the cook, it’s a chance to use up odds and ends from meats to veggies, nuts, and even beans. To their families and friends, it’s a chance to get a plateful of what looks and tastes like party food. Greek pasta salad incorporates all the elements of any pasta salad with a Mediterranean twist. Cooked penne, elbows, or another type of pasta is cooked, cooled, and mixed with feta cheese, dried olives, and fresh or dried herbs, and then dressed in olive oil and lemon.

Greek pasta salad makes a great foundation for salad veggies such as small, red grape tomatoes and thinly sliced scallions. Garlic is, of course, de rigueur either in the dressing or crushed and rubbed into the side of the salad bowl before the pasta salad is tossed. Carnivores are fond of pasta salads with dried sausage, diced chicken, or a few pieces of lamb as well.

Other veggies can make a Greek pasta salad festive and colorful. Some veggies can be added without cooking, such as snow peas, diced or sliced carrots, and celery. Green beans, yellow squash, and other vegetables can be lightly steamed to soften the texture and bring out their individual flavors.

Alternatively, a cook who wants to use a minimum number of very fresh and flavorful ingredients will create an elegant side dish for grilled or broiled meats or fish. This type of Greek pasta salad wants rough, chopped herbs such as parsley, oregano, or rosemary and will feature no more than two types of vegetables. Delicate veggies such as lightly steamed asparagus or artichoke hearts work especially well.

Pasta salad not only contains liquid in the form of oil, lemon, or vinegar, but the vegetables in the salad also hold water. Many home cooks prefer to cook the noodles al dente, meaning they don’t give as easily when bitten into and retain a slightly hard center. Pasta that is cooked until the noodles are soft is likely to become mushy, and the salad flavors and textures will suffer as a result. Another tip to make the best Greek pasta salad is to keep it cold. If it is served at an outdoor picnic, it should either remain in an ice chest, or the bowl that contains the salad should be tucked into a larger bowl filled with ice to prevent bacterial blossoms that could sicken anyone who eats it.

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