Friday, July 3, 2009

4th of July Side Dish: Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Salad

This is a great side dish for barbecues since there is no mayonaise it can sit out for awhile and it's not a big deal. It's delicious, healthy, fresh and little fancier than other pasta salads.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Half a bag of baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 (15-ounce) can of artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (I love cheese so I just usually eyeball the amount)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 lb. box penne pasta, cooked, well-drained and cooled (I usually cook the pasta in advance and refrigerate it until cool)
Coarse salt and black pepper

Combine the oil, vinegar and lemon juice in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I like to make this a couple of hours prior to serving, so it all marinates together and the flavors are enhanced. It also tastes great as leftovers.

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