Red Lentil Pasta Salad with Creamy Greek Dressing

Red Lentil Pasta Salad with Creamy Greek Dressing

We have recently gone to trying each weekday is a specific dinner topic. Monday is meatless, Tuesday is taco, which brings us to Wednesday salad day. I open the fridge and look there was fresh picked mixed greens from the salad bowel I have growing on the deck and some crunchy lettuce that Lyn likes. this was not going to cut it to boring so I went to the pantry and spotted the half box of red lentil pasta. I quickly googles and got some ideas. this is what I came up with.

INGREDIENTS

4-5 oz of red lentil penne or rotini pasta 
1 medium zucchini (about 1 lb) quartered then cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes – halved
1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper cut into 1/2 ” pieces (or some of each)
⅔ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
1 or 2 mini cucumbers cut in 1/2″ pieces
1 – 7 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 oz thinly sliced red or sweet Vidalia onions
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 recipe homemade creamy Greek dressing about (about ⅔ cup)
chopped fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into long quarters and then slice into a ½ pieces. In a large bowl toss zucchini pieces in 1 tablespoon olive oil and dried oregano. Add the bell pepper and mix. Season with salt and pepper and arrange on a baking sheet in one layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes until soft and lightly browned on the edges. Take out of the oven and let cool while you are preparing the salad.
  2. Slice onions, place in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let the onions soak for at least 15 minutes to get rid of the harsh onion flavor.
  3. Cook the pasta according to instructions on the package. Drain on a colander, run cold water over it and set aside to cool and drain completely.
  4. Make the dressing according to my Homemade Creamy Greek Dressing recipe.
  5. Cut cherry tomatoes and pitted kalamata olives into halves, chop cucumbers into thick quarter slices and roughly chop pickled roasted red peppers.
  6. Assemble the salad. Place the cooked, drained and cooled red lentil pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add rinsed and drained canned chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, soaked and drained red onion slices, kalamata olives, pickled red peppers and now cool roasted zucchini.
  7. Pour ⅔ of the Greek dressing in and toss the salad together. If it looks like it could use more dressing, add more to your own preferences.
  8. Garnish with freshly chopped basil or parsley and serve right away at room temperature or chill in the fridge and enjoy later.

Creamy Greek dressing about (about ⅔ cup)

INGREDIENTS

½ cup olive oil
3 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend using an dressing setting until smooth and creamy.