Greek Spinach-Salad Pasta with Feta, Olives, Artichokes, Tomatoes and Pepperoncini
Greek Spinach-Salad Pasta with Feta, Olives, Artichokes, Tomatoes and Pepperoncini Photo courtesy of Annabelle Breakey

Summer’s favorite picnic staple, pasta salad, is usually heavy on the starch and light on the healthy mix-ins. The opposite is true of this vegetable-forward version from author Susie Middleton. In her new cookbook, The Fresh & Green Table, Middleton shares a quick, colorful dish that has all the hallmarks of a bright, briny Greek salad, including lemon, olives, garlic, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and feta cheese. Curly noodles and tangy pepperoncini are the final additions to a dish that is plenty filling on its own but also goes great with additions like grilled shrimp.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Start to Finish: 45 minutes

Ingredients

¼ cup mild extra-virgin
olive oil

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)

1 teaspoon black olive tapenade

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered lengthwise

8 ounces small grape tomatoes,
halved (about 1¾ cups)

½ cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano, divided

½ pound dried gemelli or other curly pasta

5 loosely packed cups baby spinach

⅓ cup chopped toasted walnuts

12 small whole pepperoncini, drained

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, garlic, lemon zest, tapenade, honey, ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Add the onion, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, olives, feta and 1 tablespoon of the oregano and toss well. Let sit for 20 minutes.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well in a colander but do not rinse.

3. Transfer the warm pasta to the mixing bowl and season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Add the spinach, the remaining tablespoon oregano, walnuts and pepperoncini and toss well. (The feta will loosen up and coat the pasta.) Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • The author suggests using French Valbreso, a high-quality, creamy feta this recipe deserves.

  • Check out Middleton’s last book, Fast, Fresh & Green, for more healthy, easy recipes.

  • Gemelli pasta can be found at most grocery stores, but fusilli, rigatoni, penne and macaroni are worthy stand-ins.

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