Many different cultures eat some sort of noodle-like food, varying from Greek itrion made up of flour and water to Israeli itrium, a kind of boiled dough. But pasta is believed to have originated from China. In China, noodles of wheat, millet or rice have been eaten for thousands of years. However, we cannot deny the Italian claim to fame of inventing the pasta dish. Italian pasta is made from durum wheat and water, formed into various shapes, and boiled in water.
Pasta is often eaten hot with a tomato-based sauce, but not today. Nope. Today it is cold with a vinegar-based sauce. I must admit that I HATE pasta salads. Actually, I despise them. They are called Macaroni Salads. Do you know which ones I am talking about? The pasta salads that are full of macaroni, mayonnaise, mustard, and celery. The pasta salads that make you think of that hot summer day at the local social picnic, where the salad has been sitting out for hours and and the flies are a buzz around it. Yes, those pasta salads. Yuck. Bleh. Ick. BUT this pasta salad is different. It is fresh. It is flavor-packed. It is delicious. Full of penne, spinach, olives, tomatoes, green onions, feta, and vinaigrette, this pasta salad will being a smile to your face :)
Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 2 cups black olives, drained and chopped
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup marinated banana peppers, chopped
- 2 handfuls of spinach, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and cool under cold water.
- In a small bowl, mix together the envelope of dressing mix, herbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta, olives, tomatoes, green onions, and peppers. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture. Stir in the spinach. Gently fold in the feta cheese.
- Cover and refridgerate for at least one hour.
- Serve cold.
*Feel free to add in any of your favorite dressing mixes. Some options include: sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, raspberry vinaigrette, or Caesar dressing.