Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Ah, summer. No school, warmer weather, longer days, and family get-togethers at BBQs. Today’s recipe is an incredibly easy Mediterranean pasta salad that is so delicious and the perfect dish to make ahead of time and bring to a picnic or BBQ. Did you know that the best way to create a delicious vinaigrette is to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil? Flavor your Life olive oil is a cold-pressed olive oil imported from Italy. We tried the Le Stagioni d’Italia extra virgin olive oil in this recipe and the flavor was incredible. Choosing which olive oil to buy in the store can be overwhelming. If your olive oil is 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil, you can be assured that it is a high-quality, great-tasting oil. You can visit this link to see more delicious recipes on the Flavor Your Life recipe page.
What is extra virgin olive oil?
There is a long process that is required to make extra virgin olive oil. Olive trees in Italy are planted and then grow over the next few years. When spring comes, small white flowers begin to grow and get pollinated. Small olives grow and get bigger as summer arrives. In October, the olives are picked by a shaking machine, and then they are immediately taken to the mill. In the mill, they are quickly transformed to extra virgin olive oil. First, the olives are separated from the leaves. Then the olives are washed. The clean olives are crushed and formed into a paste. No heat or chemicals are used to press the olives. This process is how you make cold-pressed olive oil. Through centrifuge, the oil and water are separated from each other and the result is this amazing Flavor Your Life extra virgin olive oil. A panel of eight tasters samples the olive oil to make sure it is up to their standards. They check that the oil has these positive attributes: fruitiness, spiciness, pungency, and bitterness. Surprisingly, olive oil needs some fruitiness to be extra virgin olive oil. The tasters cannot find any sediment, mustiness, rancidity, or oxidation in the oil. Flavor Your Life oil is a superior quality extra virgin olive oil and preserves all the original properties and features through the cold-press process that is used.
Why is extra virgin olive oil so good for you?
Extra virgin olive oil is very good for your body. Some might think that oil makes you fat, but that is not true. Extra virgin olive oil is filled with antioxidants and a high amount of polyphenols. Polyphenols defend your body against illnesses. Olive oil is also good for your heart’s health and can help prevent strokes. It can help to reduce blood pressure and inflammation in your body. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats which reduces inflammation. Both vitamin E and K are found in olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is an important part of a balanced healthy diet.
Tips on how to cook with extra virgin olive oil
- Choose a robust oil to use with hearty foods like steaks or stews.
- Extra virgin olive oil has a very high smoking point (400 degrees) so you can use it for high heat cooking, like sauteeing and stirfries.
- Extra virgin olive oil is a perfect ingredient to drizzle on top of dishes as a finishing flavor.
- Choose delicate oils when making a vinaigrette or a condiment.
- Store your extra virgin olive oil in a cool and dark pantry. (57 degrees is the optimal storage temperature) for optimum taste.
- Screw your cap on tightly, air can quickly degrade your oil.
- You should try to use an open bottle of extra virgin olive oil within 6 months of opening it.
Kitchen tools you will need to make this pasta salad
There are a few tools you should have ready in your kitchen before making this dish. You should have a zester for the vinaigrette. This zester is less than $7 and can zest fruits, garlic, ginger, cheese, and chocolate with ease. I use this zester every single day. Next, you need a small whisk to make your vinaigrette. This whisk is a perfect size for using in a small bowl and it is less than $9. The last item that you need is a heavy-duty stockpot. This type of pot is great for making pasta, soup, stew, or a big batch of mashed potatoes. We use our 360 cookware stockpot almost every single day. Stainless steel and made in the USA, this stockpot will hold up forever.
What makes Le Stagioni d’Italia so special?
Le Stagioni d’Italia means “the seasons of Italy” in Italian. This name is a perfect depiction of the connection between the land of Italy, the beautiful olive trees, and the way that the olives change and grow throughout the seasons. Olive oil is the most important agricultural business in Italy. Flavor Your Life is very proud of its sustainable farming practices. Le Stagioni d’Italia is located in Northern Italy and is a vegan, gluten-free, additive-free, and preservative-free oil. The scents you can find in Le Stagioni d’Italia olive oil include the robust flavor of artichoke and almond and a medium bitter and slightly spicy aftertaste. This 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil is the first cold-pressed olive oil that comes from the first round of extraction of the intact olives.
Pasta Salad is great for BBQs or Picnics
When do you eat pasta salad? I love to bring pasta salad in my lunchbox and so do my kids. This Mediterranean Pasta Salad recipe is so easy to make and comes together very quickly. Cook your pasta in advance, then toss it with the lemony vinaigrette. It can stay in your refrigerator for many days and still taste great. This pasta salad is the perfect summer food and is an excellent addition to any bbq or summer get-together.
- 16 ounces pasta
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 6 sundried tomatoes diced
- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup shredded carrot
- Vinaigrette ingredients:
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we love the Flavor Your Life brand
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 lemons zest
- 2 TB lemon juice
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 TB honey
- 5 minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Salt the water very generously.
- Cook your pasta until just al dente.
- While pasta cooks, whisk together your vinaigrette ingredients.
- Drain your pasta and rinse it in cold water for 30 seconds
- Transfer your pasta to a mixing bowl.
- Add to the pasta, your diced cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and red onion. Drizzle the vinaigrette evenly onto the pasta and vegetables.
- Toss it until all of your ingredients are evenly coated with the vinaigrette.
- Let cool in the refrigerator and then enjoy!
This recipe was sponsored by Flavor Your Life extra virgin olive oil. I received this product for free from Moms Meet in order to create this recipe. All ideas, photos, recipes, and thoughts are 100% my own. Compensation was provided. This page may contain affiliate links.