Are you looking for a crowd-pleasing, stress free, anytime dish? Then this is the one for you. Not only is it delicious, but it works well as a side dish, main dish, potluck pleaser, or easy family friendly meal. And the best part? You can make it in advance and the flavors just get better with time! So make it the night before and maximize your time out of the kitchen the next day!
Chunky Greek Style Pasta Salad
500 grams Pasta (any short pasta: penne, shells, fusilli), cooked and drained
3 small Cucumbers (or 1 whole long English), cut into chunks
2 Tomatoes, cut in large dice
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut in large dice
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Black Olives
1/2 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 handful Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
250 grams Sausages (optional)
2 Chicken Breasts (optional)
2 Cloves of Garlic, cut in half and crushed (optional)
Boil a large pot of water with 1/2 tsp salt. Cook pasta as per package instructions. Drain and rinse under some cool water, just to cool pasta down to room temp. Drain well.
In a large bowl, mix together all the vegetables and olives. Add the drained pasta.
In a small bowl, combine the Dijon mustard, balsamic, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking to combine. Stir in the parsley.
If you are not adding chicken or sausage, serve immediately or place in the fridge until the next day.
For Pasta Salad with Sausage, Chicken, or both (I like to use both)...
For the Sausages: Poach the sausages for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through (about 5 minutes for small sausages and 8-10 minutes for large ones). Cut into slices. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sautee pan over medium-high heat.
Add the sausages and the garlic and sautee until the sausages have browned. Remove the garlic.
For the Chicken: Cut the chicken breasts into 1 inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Sautee the chicken for about 4 minutes, until cooked through. Let cool slightly, then shred each chunk of chicken with your hands. This will create small torn pieces of chicken which will absorb the salad dressing.
Add the chicken and/or sausage to the pasta mixture. Serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve