Serving up a big serving of one of my favorite pasta salads todays!
For whatever reason, I begin to think of pasta salad around this time of year. My dad used to make it often throughout the summer, when the days were packed full of sunshine and fun, and dinner just needed to be quick, simple, and easy!
Summer is definitely not quite here yet, but we are mid spring and the weather is finally beginning to cooperate, YAY! It was a gorgeous sunny day today, the kind that make you feel like summer is here. For me, this means way less time in the kitchen and way more time outside…or at least that’s the way I dream of it being. In reality, more likely it means me sitting in the window with the most vibrant sun shining through while typing away on the computer. Hey, but at least it’s a very big window…with incredible views…got to do what you got to do!
Anyway, this pasta salad is a mix of all the flavors I am loving right now. Fresh oregano, basil, dill, plenty of Greek veggies, and the most delicious lemony roasted broccoli. The major bonus here is that this could not be easier to put together…and the leftovers just get better, making this one of those dinners to make on Sunday and eat for lunch throughout the week. Cool. Cool.
OK, but while I love pasta salad, the real inspiration here actually came from my cousin, Maggie. She announced on the family Group Me text messaging app that she had just booked a summer trip to Greece, yes, Greece!
I mean, how amazing does that sound? I am totally jealous. She’ll be traveling to Athens, Santorini, Paros, and Crete…talk about a trip to paradise. Literally just got even more jealous typing that out. I told her to make sure to take tons and tons of photos of everything she eats so I can attempt to recreate each dish. Bring on all the gyros, colorful salads, and of course – feta!
Clearly her trip got me thinking about Greek foods, and in turn, I decided to create this simple pasta salad loaded with Greek flavors. It’s probably one of my favorite pasta salad combos, and trust me, I have made a lot of pasta salads!
The recipe starts off by roasting the broccoli in the oven with a little garlic and lemon. While that’s happening, just boil up some pasta, drain, and add all the remaining ingredients into the bowl with the hot pasta. It’s important to toss everything together while the pasta is still warm so you can really activate the flavors of the fresh herbs.
My secret flavor booster? Using the oil that comes in the sun-dried tomato jar. I feel like I’m saying this all the time now, but that oil is like liquid gold, so don’t throw it out!
My other not so secret, secret? Lots and lots of really good cubed feta cheese. It is just a must in a Greek salad.
Done and DONE.
Greek Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli Pasta Salad
- 2 heads broccoli, florets roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 pound short cut pasta
- 1 (8 ounce) jar oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1 zucchini thinly, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 8 ounces feta cheese, cubed
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. On a large baking sheet, toss together the broccoli, pine nuts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, and a large pinch of both salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the broccoli is just beginning to char.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and add back to the hot pot.
4. While the pasta is still warm, add the roasted broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes - plus the oil in the jar, olives and 3 tablespoons of the olive brine (the liquid surrounding the olives), the zucchini, red pepper, cucumbers, oregano, basil, dill, lemon juice and zest. Toss until well combined and the pasta is coated in oil, if needed drizzle in little olive oil over if there doesn't seem to be enough. Add the feta and gently toss. Serve warm or at room temperature. The pasta can be made up to 1 day in advance.
PS. kind of love when you can call pasta…salad. 🙂