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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make the dressing according to my Homemade Creamy Greek Dressing recipe.
- Cut cherry tomatoes and pitted kalamata olives into halves, chop cucumbers into thick quarter slices and roughly chop pickled roasted red peppers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
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
- Place all ingredients in a blender.
- Blend using an dressing setting until smooth and creamy.