Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Prepared Mediterranean Pasta Salad served in a clear bowl on a wooden tray.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

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Go ahead and skip the mayo with this Mediterranean Pasta Salad that is bright and briny with a wonderful array of ingredients. The zesty dressing made with Dijon and fresh herbs is a burst of flavour that takes this salad to the next level. Olives and pancetta add a nice texture and brininess to the pasta, while the spinach, cherry tomatoes and red onion keep it light and fresh. Mediterranean Pasta Salad is great for picnics, potlucks, backyard BBQ parties and your July long weekend. This salad holds up wonderfully the day it is made so there’s no fear of a soggy salad. The pasta and pancetta can be cooked up to two days ahead so tossing this salad together at the last minute is a cinch. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Mediterranean Pasta Salad arranged on a wodden tray.

This recipe was one of the first posted to my blog back in 2016 and I forgot how delicious it is. I felt it deserved a little revival just in time to enjoy for summer.

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces gemelli or fusilli pasta
  • 4 ounces pancetta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil see note
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano see note
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley see note
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced and roughly chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until pasta is cool. Drain well and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet cook pancetta over medium heat until crispy and fat has been rendered, about 5-7 minutes. Drain well on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Toss together pasta, pancetta, spinach, cherry tomatoes, black olives, red onion, parmesan cheese and dressing until combined. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Notes

-fresh herbs are lovely in this recipe, however, if you need to use dry herbs use 1/3 of the amount stated for fresh.
-this salad is best served the day it is made but leftovers will keep for 2 days covered in the refrigerator.

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Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

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Meatless meals can be so darn good! Spinach and Feta Shakshuka is a quick and easy vegetarian meal that has a crazy amount of nutrition packed into it. Eggs on their own are very nutritious, add in spinach, leeks and legumes and you’ve got a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, K and D, not to mention loads of protein and fibre. This lovely dish packs a lot of flavour too, plus it’s prime for serving for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The preparation of ingredients for Spinach and Feta Shakshuka.
Spinach and Feta Shakshuka in a shallow braiser ready to cook the eggs.

There are plenty of green shakshuka variations out there, but I love the classic feta and dill combination of this one. It’s bursting with fresh flavours of dill and lemon, and the spinach is a great pairing with the eggs. I’ve opted to use cannellini beans, however, other legumes such as chickpeas would be great as well. I find the beans round out the dish and make it rustic and very satisfying. I also suggest serving this dish with crusty, toasted bread. You’ll need it to dunk into the perfectly soft eggs and scoop up the saucy greens. Enjoy!

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.
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Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, well cleaned
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 7 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans, see note
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 each lemon
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 each green onions

Instructions

  • Thinly slice the leeks and green onions. Heat oil in a large shallow skillet or braiser. Add leeks and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften. Stir in broth, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Simmer for 4-5 until leels are tender and most of the broth has cooked out.
  • Add spinach and toss gently with leeks until wilted. Stir in beans, dill and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Make 6 large indentations and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle evenly with feta cheese. Cover and cook on medium heat until egg whites are just set and the centers still jiggle, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with sliced green onions and the remaining tbsp of fresh dill. Serve with toasted bread.

Notes

-I used cannellini beans for this recipe and enjoyed them in the dish.   Chickpeas would be another great choice.

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Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin

Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin

Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin baked in small red ceramic cocotte dishes.

Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin

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I absolutely love hot, cheesy spinach and artichoke dip. It’s something I can dig into and truly be a little pig about. So today’s post is a riff on one of my favourite dips made into gnocchi casserole form. This will likely be my last warming and hearty casserole of the season because it’s time to think spring…and I’m definitely okay with that. But in the same breath, I didn’t want you to miss out on this wonderfully cheesy and saucy Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin.

If you’re not familiar with gnocchi, they are essentially little dumplings often made with mashed potatoes or ricotta cheese. Very simple to make, they cook in minutes and they can take on whatever sauce you want to toss them in. A classic sauce is a butter and sage sauce, but your favourite family meat sauce would be great too. The cheese lover in me can’t help but smother the tender little dumplings in a luscious Gruyere cheese sauce. Enjoy!

Ricotta gnocchi dusted lightly with flour on a tan cutting board in preparation for Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin.

Tips for great gnocchi:

Don’t overwork the dough and mix only until combined. This will prevent too much gluten development in the flour.

The grooves are not necessary, however, they help the dumpling hold the sauce. It only takes a few extra minutes to roll each piece over the tines of a fork or gnocchi board.

Cook gnocchi in gently simmering water and only cook until they start to float to the surface. A rapid boil is a little too rough for the tender gnocchi.

Gnocchi can be made and cooked ahead of time. Simply chill or freeze in a single layer on a large baking tray. Once they are frozen they can be stored together in a sealable bag or airtight container. If chilling, cover and use within 2 days.

Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin baked in small red ceramic cocotte dishes.

Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin baked in small red ceramic cocotte dishes.
Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    4 people 75 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    27-33 minutes 5 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    4 people 75 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    27-33 minutes 5 minutes
    Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin baked in small red ceramic cocotte dishes.
    Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Gratin
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      4 people 75 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      27-33 minutes 5 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      4 people 75 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      27-33 minutes 5 minutes
      Ingredients
      Gnocchi
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      Gnocchi
      1. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir in flour until dough starts to come together.
      2. Scoop dough onto a floured work surface and knead gently for a few turns until dough is smooth. Shape into a round disk, cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes for the flour to hydrate.
      3. Cut dough disk into 4 equal portions and roll eat portion into an approximate 15" log. Cut each log into 3/4" pieces, dusting lightly with flour as you go to prevent sticking.
      4. Roll each piece across the tines of a fork or gnocchi board, sprinkle with flour as you go to prevent sticking. Dust a large baking tray with flour and lay formed gnocchi in a single layer on the tray. Sprinkle with flour, cover and keep chilled until ready to use.
      Sauce
      1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until combined. Slowly add 1 cup of hot milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Repeat with remaining milk, adding it gradually and stirring until smooth after each addition. Once all the milk has been added, bring to a gentle simmer to ensure flour has thickened to its capacity. Continue to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
      2. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a simmer and preheat oven to 350°F.
      3. Remove the sauce from heat and stir in half of the Gruyere cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Once the cheese has melted stir in spinach and chopped artichokes.
      4. Gently add gnocchi to the simmering water. Cook until all the gnocchi float to the surface which will only take a few minutes. Remove with a slotted scoop to a towel-lined tray to remove excess moisture. Immediately add gnocchi to the sauce and stir gently to combine.
      5. Divide between 4 oven-safe individual cocotte dishes or ramekins that will hold a minimum of 1 1/2 cups. Divide remaining Gruyere cheese evenly over tops and place on a foil-lined baking tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly. Turn oven to broil to lightly brown the tops for about 2 minutes.
      6. Remove from oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving as they are very hot.
      Recipe Notes

      A single casserole dish can be used instead of individual cocotte dishes if desired.

      It's important to add the cooked gnocchi immediately to the sauce as they will start to stick together if left to sit for too long.

       

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes

      Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes

      Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes recipe is an oldie but a goodie.  A simple way to use the cold, hard mashed potatoes that have been hiding in your fridge for three days. I can say with confidence that I always make too many mashed potatoes.  With the same confidence, I can also say that I’ve had that forgotten Tupperware container of mashed potatoes buried in my refrigerator.  I think we’ve all been there. So the next time you’re sifting through your fridge, desperately trying to find something for lunch and can’t believe you have nothing.  Dig deep and move a few jars to find the lost and lonely tub of mashed potatoes, begging to be consumed.  Mix with a few pantry items and a give a quick pan fry, you’ll find lunch is served.

      What I like about this recipe, is the ratio of potato to egg and breadcrumbs.  I find the cakes stay moist and hold together very well during forming and frying.  While this is my own little version, you could easily customize the flavours to your liking. Maybe try different greens and herbs, garlic, parmesan, corn or sautéed onions. I also used sour cream and fresh dill as an accompaniment, but tzatziki would also be great. Use whatever you have on hand and enjoy!

      Recipe source for Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes:  Compelled to Cook

      Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        2 people 15 minutes
        Cook Time
        10 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        2 people 15 minutes
        Cook Time
        10 minutes
        Spinach and Cheddar Potato Cakes
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          2 people 15 minutes
          Cook Time
          10 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          2 people 15 minutes
          Cook Time
          10 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. In a medium bowl, mix together egg, spinach, seasoning salt, onion powder and pepper Add mashed potatoes and mix until well combined. Stir in cheese, bread crumbs and chives. Mix until combined and bread crumbs have been absorbed.
          2. Heat oil in a non stick frying pan over medium high heat. While pan is heating, form 1/3 cup potato mixture into approximate 3" patties about 1/2" thick and place into pan as you form them. Cook 4-5 minutes per side until heated through and golden brown.
          3. Stir together sour cream and dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep chilled until ready to serve with cakes.

          Spanish Chorizo Frittata

          Spanish Chorizo Frittata

          You just can’t beat a frittata for its simplicity and ease of preparation for something that looks so much more complicated than it actually is. Plus, you can make it any combination of flavours you want. My Spanish Chorizo Frittata is packed with flavour from spicy sausage, veggies, fresh herbs and smoked paprika. Many great flavours all hugged together with cheese and eggs. It’s the perfect meal served with a salad or hash browns.

          Not only great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s fantastic for guests since everything can be chopped in advance. Making the final preparation a simple matter of a little sautéing, adding whisked eggs and cream then popping in the oven until slightly puffed and golden. It takes mere minutes to pull it off once the prep is done.

          So go crazy with your favourite meats, veggies and potatoes to create your own signature frittata. It’s also a great dish for those watching their carbohydrate intake as there’s no starchy crust and it can be made without meat for a great vegetarian option. I opted for a frittata with a Spanish flare full of sausage and a few of my favourite veggies. It’s delicious and I hope you enjoy it!

          Recipe source for Spanish Chorizo Frittata:  Compelled To Cook

          Spanish Chorizo Frittata
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            6 people 10 minutes
            Cook Time
            25-28 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            6 people 10 minutes
            Cook Time
            25-28 minutes
            Spanish Chorizo Frittata
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              6 people 10 minutes
              Cook Time
              25-28 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              6 people 10 minutes
              Cook Time
              25-28 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Heat olive oil in 10" cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften. Add chorizo and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach, roasted red peppers and herbs, cooking until spinach has completely wilted, approximately 2 minutes.
              2. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, cream, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Pour into skillet and stir 2-3 times. Sprinkle with cheese and stir just to combine. Allow to cook on stove top over medium low heat undisturbed until starting to set around the edge, approximately 5 minutes. Transfer pan to preheated oven and bake for 15-16 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before slicing.