Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

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

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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Wasabi Slaw

Wasabi Slaw

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A small metal tub filled with Wasabi Slaw is resting on a checkered white and green kitchen towel.

 

What’s your favourite summer slaw? I’m partial to a classic creamy coleslaw, so I immediately fell in love with Wasabi Slaw. It has all the creaminess of a mayonnaise-based dressing and the crunch of cool, crisp cabbage but it is set apart by the addition of wasabi. The earthy heat melds with the creamy dressing and gives just the right amount of punch. My perfect punchy heat may be different than yours, so add a little wasabi or add a lot.

For a crisp coleslaw, mix the dressing in advance but don’t add it to the cabbage until ready to serve. Keeping all ingredients cold before and after mixing will also help maintain a wonderful crunch. Enjoy!

 

Fresh cabbage, green onion, wasabi and grated carrots are being prepped for Wasabi Slaw.
A small metal tub filled with Wasabi Slaw is resting on a checkered white and green kitchen towel.

A small metal tub filled with Wasabi Slaw is resting on a checkered white and green kitchen towel.
Wasabi Slaw
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    6 cups 30 minutes
    Passive Time
    10 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    6 cups 30 minutes
    Passive Time
    10 minutes
    A small metal tub filled with Wasabi Slaw is resting on a checkered white and green kitchen towel.
    Wasabi Slaw
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      6 cups 30 minutes
      Passive Time
      10 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      6 cups 30 minutes
      Passive Time
      10 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: cups
      Instructions
      1. In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, wasabi, vinegar, salt and pepper. Allow the dressing to sit refrigerated for at least 10 minutes or until ready to use to allow sugar to completely dissolve.
      2. In a large bowl toss together cabbage, carrots and green onion.
      3. Stir in dressing and serve immediately for a crisp coleslaw. .
      Recipe Notes

      The coleslaw with soften as it sits so it is best served immediately after adding dressing. It can be made a couple of hours ahead and tossed before serving if needed.

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      Affiliate Disclosure

      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
      Zahtar Potato Salad

      Zahtar Potato Salad

      Zahtar or Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend that I’ve not had the pleasure to work with a lot with over the years. It’s a real shame because I love it!  Earthy and nutty with hints of citrus makes it wonderful with so many foods.  Hummus and pita are probably the first things people think of when they associate it, but it goes way beyond.  Great with chicken, eggs and potatoes to name a few. I recently came across a Zahtar Egg Salad and figured why not incorporate it into a potato salad, and Zahtar Potato Salad was born. 

      I was not far off the mark thinking it would be delicious. The combination of briny, salty olives and creamy mayonnaise brings baby potatoes to life and makes for a great Mediterranean version.  Even though I prefer the  mayonnaise based potato salad, I did experiment with a warm salad version using olive oil to dress it instead of the mayonnaise.  It too was a tasty version of potato salad but I just couldn’t stop scooping up the creamier version.  Maybe because that was the way my mom used to make it and by far the type I’ve eaten most in my life. 

      The Zahtar I purchased contains salt, so I therefore found it was not necessary to add additional salt in this recipe.  If your Zahtar does not contain salt,  be sure to add salt to taste. You can also make your own if desired, here is a simple recipe from The Genius Kitchen

      Recipe source for Zahtar Potato Salad:  Inspired by Bon Appetit Mediterranean Egg Salad

      Zahtar Potato Salad
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        5 cups 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        12 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        5 cups 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        12 minutes
        Zahtar Potato Salad
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          5 cups 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          12 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          5 cups 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          12 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: cups
          Instructions
          1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and place pine nuts in a single layer on a small baking tray or pie plate. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes, turning at least once until golden. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to use.
          2. Heat enough water to just cover the eggs and simmer gently for no more than 12 minutes. Drain and immediately cool under cold running water. Once cooled, peel and coarsely chop.
          3. Steam or boil baby potatoes in simmering lightly salted water until just fork tender, about 8-10 minutes depending on size. Drain and cool under cold water. Allow potatoes to drain thoroughly once cool.
          4. Cut potatoes into bite size pieces, usually a baby potato cut in half or quartered makes for a nice size.
          5. In a medium size bowl stir together red onion, green olives, mayonnaise, greek yogurt, Zahtar and salt and pepper. Add chopped potatoes, eggs, pine nuts and cilantro. Gently stir into mayonnaise until combined. Serve immediately sprinkled with additional cilantro if desired. Can be chilled for several hours prior to serving if needed. Best served the day it is made.
          Recipe Notes

          -For time management, the potatoes, pine nuts and eggs can be cooked at the same time.

          -The Zahtar I used contained salt, so little extra salt was needed. However, if your brand does not include salt you will need to adjust seasoning to taste.