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Mediterranean Whole Wheat Pasta Salad

March 21, 2012

by Elizabeth

I take my lunch to work almost every day, mostly to save calories and dollars for more interesting meals. Problem is I’m very guilty of getting in lunch ruts – I may never eat another Greek salad with grilled chicken ever again (EVER) after doing so for six months before my wedding, and I’m afraid that I’ve almost worn out my all-time favorite salad (chicken or turkey, cranberries, green apple, blue cheese, nuts and balsamic for anyone who cares…). So I’ve been trying to come up with creative, somewhat healthy alternatives that can be prepared in advance and easily transported. I found this pasta salad recipe saved on my Pepperplate app, and I adapted it to what was in my fridge. You could easily add bell pepper, artichokes, hearts of palm, onions or anything else your heart desires. Husband even enjoyed this too, and it’s been nice to have a big bowl ready and waiting for quick dinners as well as lunches all week.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad, adapted from Always Order Dessert

Serves 4

2 grilled chicken breasts, diced (before grilling, I seasoned mine with a Mediterranean rub – salt, pepper, garlic, and marjoram)
6 – 8 oz whole wheat or whole grain penne
1/2 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
5 ounces feta cheese, diced (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup diced cherry or regular tomatoes
1 pepperoncini pepper, minced (use two for extra kick)
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/4  cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and ripped off the stems
salt and pepper

Grill chicken breasts. Let cool then dice into small pieces. Cook pasta, then drain and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine olives, tomatoes, pepperoncini, and feta. Add chicken and pasta when cool.

In a small food processor or blender, chop basil, garlic, lemon zest, vinegar and olive oil. Add more olive oil as necessary to form a dressing. Salt and pepper to taste – about 1/4 teaspoon of each.

Pour dressing over salad, toss well to mix. Taste and add salt or pepper as needed. Can be refrigerated for several days, just let it warm up a little before eating. (That way the olive oil in the dressing will “loosen up” again and nicely coat the salad.)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2012 1:33 pm

    Just connected to your site via Dashboard.

    Great sounding Med based pasta salad. I particularly like the inclusion of the pepperoncini. Delish!

    If you have a moment check out my blog which is a fusion of sports, food recipes, libations and more. http://sports-glutton.com/

    Cheers,
    Jed

  2. March 21, 2012 3:00 pm

    This dish looks really fresh, and perfect for Spring! Thanks for sharing!

  3. March 22, 2012 5:15 am

    I do love a good, fresh pasta salad. So healthy and light.

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