One of the wonderful things about living in a mountain town is that I get to experience all four seasons. As a native Southern Californian, I grew up in the sun. It wasn’t until I’d lived in Colorado for a few years that I began to eagerly anticipate the transitions that happen year-round. The joy of watching the leaves redden in autumn. The delight of the first snow. The relief of sliding your feet into flip flops for the first time. How spectacular- and fleeting– those perfect summer days truly are. I’ve made no secret that I’m ready to bid adieu to winter; I’ve joyfully been watching the last snowdrift on the back patio melt away. The reason springtime is so magical is because it feels like it takes so long to arrive.
The other day, I shared many of the things I’m looking forward to this season. A major thing that I left out is the FOOD. Gardens are beginning to wake up; there’s an abundance of asparagus and artichokes and peas. As the days get warmer, I crave the lighter dishes full of bright, fresh flavors, like this Greek-inspired pasta salad.
To get started, I boiled some gluten-free pasta. I chopped up tasty veggies and herbs: cucumber, tomato, red onion, basil, mint, and parsley. Fresh herbs lighten any dish, don’t they?
I also chopped up some jarred artichoke hearts and drained some canned garbanzo beans. Yummy!
The dressing is a key part of this recipe. I took notes from Joy the Baker’s dressing and combined olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. It’s the perfect combination of tart, sweet, and savory.
I drained the cooked pasta and added the veggies and herbs. Over the top, I added the zest of a lemon before adding the dressing. Last came a healthy handful of crumbled feta cheese.
This pasta salad is colorful and delicious, and was a cinch to make. You could add shredded chicken or grilled shrimp for a more substantial meal. I found it to be just right for lunch, straight from the fridge- it’s best served chilled to keep the cucumbers crisp! It would be ideal as a side dish, perfect for a picnic: happily devoured in the spring sunshine, feet in the grass, dog at your side. Ahhhhh.
What are your favorite seasonal recipes? Share with me!
Lemony Greek Pasta Salad (adapted from Joy the Baker)
- A pound of cooked pasta, cooled
- Half a cup chopped cucumber
- Half a cup chopped tomato
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- Half a cup chopped artichoke hearts (jarred)
- Half a can garbanzo beans, drained
- ¼ cup each chopped mint, basil, Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Zest of one lemon
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix the pasta with the veggies, beans, herbs, cheese, and lemon zest. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings as needed and enjoy sitting on a sunny patio with bare feet. Yum!
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