The star of this big, juicy Pasta Salad is the dressing – it’s made using the flavour infused oil from the Sun Dried Tomatoes. Never throw away free flavour – especially when it’s this good! Quick to make and a big crowd pleaser, this can be as diverse as you want it to be!
According to Google, there are 433 million results when you’re searching for a Pasta Salad.
So what makes this one different?
A MUST-TRY PASTA SALAD DRESSING
It’s the Dressing. 🙂 It’s a vinaigrette, and it’s made using the oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes. And it’s not only infused with sun dried tomato flavour, it’s got a bunch of other flavourings as well, all things we love – garlic, herbs, sugar, salad and pepper.
So I use the flavour infused oil from the jar as the base for the Pasta Salad Dressing, then add other usual suspects – vinegar, garlic, mustard – plus a healthy dose of dried herbs.
There will always be a place in my heart for creamy dressings, but there’s no denying that I find pasta salads tossed with vinaigrettes more appealing. They’re just fresher and lighter, and it means I can enjoy them day after day and not feel weighed down / guilty about excess mayo consumption.
This is a particularly great pasta salad for taking somewhere or making ahead because it keeps exceptionally well.
I know you hear that often – that pasta salads keep well. But in this case, it really does – because it’s light on fresh veggies. Just tomatoes and baby spinach which does wilt once dressed but then seemingly becomes more integrated into the pasta salad, rather than being off-puttingly limp like when it’s in a normal salad.
I’m probably doing myself a major disservice here by saying that it’s light on fresh veggies, it doesn’t make it sound very summery, does it? 🙂
But actually, this is a terrific year round pasta salad because it’s lovely served warm too. Try it! – Nagi x
PS This is suited to be a meal because it’s got chicken in it, but if you wanted to make it as a side, you could totally skip the chicken and add something else in it’s place. Few suggestions: artichokes, asparagus, olives, char grilled peppers, avocado.
- 375 g / 12 oz spiral pasta , or other pasta of choice
- 220 g / 7 oz jar sun dried tomato strips in oil
- 2 cups (packed) shredded cooked chicken
- 250 g / 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes , halved
- 75 g / 2.5 oz baby spinach (2 big handfuls)
- 1 small red onion, quartered and finely sliced
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs (Note 1)
- 100 g / 3 oz feta, crumbled
- 1/3 cup / 85 ml oil from sun dried tomatoes
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs (Note 1)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Drain oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes.
Measure out 1/3 cup of the oil, top with extra virgin olive oil if short. Reserve excess oil for another purpose.
Add remaining Dressing ingredients. Mix well.
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water per packet directions.
Drain, then rinse briefly under cold water. Leave to cool.
Transfer into large bowl. Add spinach, chicken, tomato, onion, pour over Dressing.
Toss well, sprinkle with dried herbs, toss again.
Just before serving, sprinkle with crumbled feta. Best served at room temperature.
1. I use store bought Mixed Herbs. Otherwise, my standard combination is equal parts thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, plus a pinch of rosemary (not too much of this), or adjust quantities of any of these based on what you have.
2. Storage - tastes even better the next day! Best brought to room temp. Can also place all ingredients in bowl, refrigerate, then toss together.
3. You could skip the chicken and add something else in it's place, such as: artichokes, asparagus, olives, char grilled peppers, avocado.
4. Serves 5 - 6 as a meal, 8 - 10 as a side. Nutrition is for 6 servings.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
He spends a lot of time peering out the window nowadays…. watching passer-byers, the birds that flit around in the trees, newspaper swirling in the wind on the driveway (especially fascinated by this…….)
* For those playing catch up, Dozer completely ruptured his ACL and had to undergo surgery. We’re 3 weeks into a 3 – 4 month recovery period. Challenging for this highly active dog.😢