- 2 Cups mostaccioli
- 16 Ounces BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN 2% Milkfat Low Fat Cottage Cheese
- 7 Ounces roasted red peppers, drained
- 4 Ounces ATHENOS Crumbled Reduced Fat Feta Cheese
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/3 Cup pitted black olive slices
- 1 Cup halved zucchini slices
Cook the mostaccioli in large saucepan as directed on package, adding zucchini to the cooking water during the last 2 minutes of the pasta cooking time.
Drain mostaccioli mixture and return to pan.
Add the remaining ingredients; cook until heated through, stirring frequently.
Calories Per Serving393
Folate equivalent (total)44µg11%
Mediterranean penne pasta salad (meal prep)
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Looking for an interesting make ahead lunch option that&rsquos nutritious, filling, and easy &ndash and that isn&rsquot a sandwich? Then this meal prep Mediterranean penne pasta salad is for you!
Hands up if you quickly get bored of having sandwiches for lunch?
I certainly do, but usually I have neither the time, ideas, or inclination to make anything fancier.
It&rsquos enough to get a decent dinner on the table every day!
The fanciest I ever get is having leftovers from the night before for lunch. That feels like a real score!
Which is why I&rsquom feeling pretty smug that I came up with this Mediterranean penne pasta salad.
I&rsquom not usually the biggest fan of pasta salads, but I thought I&rsquod try to make one that I would really like.
What usually puts me off pasta salads is the carb overload. There always seems to be far too much pasta to chew through compared to all the other bits.
So what this Mediterranean penne pasta salad has is LOADS of vegetables. Deliciously caramelised roasted vegetables, to be exact.
This pasta salad also has:
- a generous amount of tasty basil pesto
- a bit of crunch from toasted pine nuts
- a scattering of fresh mint (from our garden! It&rsquos taking over, as mint tends to do, so we really need to eat plenty of it before the caterpillars do!)
- a sprinkle of feta cheese because, well, feta cheese&hellip (you know I can&rsquot help it)
I&rsquoll admit it takes a bit of time to chop up all the veggies, but once you&rsquove done that it&rsquos just a case of cooking the pasta and tossing everything together.
Eggplant (aubergine!), mushrooms, rainbow peppers, zucchini (courgette!) & cherry tomatoes &ndash some of my favourite vegetables to roast!
- Olive Oil
- Cooking Spray
- 1 Medium Pot
- 1 Medium Oven-Safe Casserole Dish
- 1 Colander
- 1 Large Non-Stick Pan
- 1 Baking Sheet
Before You Cook
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Bring 8 cups water and 2 tsp. salt to a boil in a medium pot
If using any fresh produce, thoroughly rinse and pat dry
Prepare a medium casserole dish with cooking spray
Prepare a baking sheet with foil
Ingredient(s) used more than once: oregano, mozzarella
Ingredients and Tips
If you are able to use Greek feta, use it! It is the original feta the same way parmesan is Italian for example. In Europe it is illegal to sell feta that is not made in Greece, but in other parts of the world any type of white cheese can say its feta. If you are unable to find Greek feta, then opt for feta that is made with sheep’s milk, feta is never made from cow’s milk. Get my tips on how to choose the best feta here and 19 delicious ways to use feta here.
In the traditional Greek appetizer recipe, we use large tomatoes, here I used cherry tomatoes as I was going to mix it with the pasta and would blend better.
Use extra virgin olive oil. You don’t need to use too much as the tomatoes will release a bit of water while cooking, you can always add some right before serving as well.
I don’t add salt to this recipe as feta has enough to season the dish. I do add oregano and after baking I add mint which pairs perfectly with feta. If you cannot find mint, you can add basil.
If you use pasta, use small pasta such as penne, rotini or orecchiette. For this recipe I would use ½ cup dry pasta. However, if you want a starchier meal then I would use 1 cup dry pasta. Whole grain pasta would work great as well.
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Tomato Feta Salad – Amazing Side Dish with a Tone of Mediterranean Flavor
When the tomato season rolls around I’m as happy as a kid. In fact, I grow my own tomatoes and when they are ripe, I really have an abundance of them. I grow different varieties of them, like Beefsteaks, Roma, Cherry, and some hybrids. I love them all.
Because I have so many tomatoes in the season I like to have quite a few recipes that I can rotate through and that family loves. Some of my go-toes are Summer Panzanella with Garlic Butter Croutons or Greek Panzanella or a simple Horiatiki Salad. Oh, and I almost forgot this Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola, made from my Roma tomatoes is one of the most popular recipes on this site (do yourself a favor and check this one out).
But this Tomato Feta Salad has a special place in my heart because the tomato is really the star! And did I mention that I really love tomatoes? I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t dress my tomatoes in Mediterranean flavors like feta, parsley, mint, red onions, dry oregano, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, etc. Need I say more? I will….it’s simply perfection!
How to Make Tomato Feta Salad
(For a full printable recipe with exact measurements, steps, and nutritional information, scroll down to the bottom of the post)
Step 1: Gather your Tomato Feta Salad Ingredients:
- Large, ripe tomatoes (like Beefsteak or Heirloom)
- Red Onions
- Feta Cheese
- For the dressing: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Red Wine Vinegar Salt, Pepper, Dry Oregano.
Step 2: Grab a nice oval platter and start assembling:
- Start with thick slices of tomatoes
- Follow with half-moon slices of red onion
- Then add chopped herbs
- Top with chunks of good quality Feta Cheese.
Step 3: Take a Mason Jar and add all dressing ingredients to it then shake it well. Pour it over the salad and serve.
Recipe tip: This is a very simple recipe with just a few ingredients and therefore it is super important to use THE BEST quality ingredients: (i) super ripe, but firm tomatoes (ii) very fresh green herbs (iii) very good Feta cheese (ie, a real Greek one that you buy in a brine and it is in the shape of block. My favorite is “Dodoni” and it’s not crumbled) and finally the best, fragrant extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Don’t skimp on the ingredients. You won’t get the best Tomato Feta Salad if you do.
What’s the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet has been called one the healthiest and best in the world. But what exactly is it? The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating and living that derives from the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea (like Italy and Greece). It’s not a strict diet, but more of loose guidelines. Here’s how the Mayo Clinic defines the Mediterranean diet:
- Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats (like olive oil)
- Weekly consumption of fish, poultry, legumes (beans & lentils), and eggs
- Moderate portions of dairy products
- Limited intake of red meat
Mayo Clinic stresses that a Mediterranean diet is plant based, not meat based. It’s kind of like a whole food plant based diet (WFPB), with a bit of seafood and dairy thrown in. Having a loose concept is helpful and provides flexibility (like eating “flexitarian”, a word Alex and I often use to describe how we eat).
15 Recipes to Help You Escape to the Mediterranean
Mamma Mia! Here we go again with more recipes to take your family on an adventure at your own dining table. This time the destination is the sunny Mediterranean!
Sometimes it seems like the COVID-19 lockdown goes On and On and On. Saying So Long to quarantine sure would make us Dancing Queens. For now The Name of the Game is to help flatten the curve, so that next year maybe we can safely say Happy New Year from Santorini.
In the meantime, go Head Over Heels for these 15 recipes to help you escape to the Mediterranean. These dishes are easy enough for anyone to make you won’t have to send an SOS over them. You can be a Super Trouper by fighting the virus and staying inside while taking your family on a culinary vacation. They’ll be saying Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! another delicious Mediterranean meal!
We’ve included recipes for lunches, snacks, appetizers, and entrees. Whether you’re cooking a Greek or Italian dinner or just looking for some finger foods for movie night, there’s something here for everyone.
1. Greek Salad Kabobs
This is innovation in action: a salad that requires no utensils! Your kids will love building their own skewers, too – simply chop up the veggies first, provide the sticks, and let them have at it.
2. Lemon-Whipped Feta Dip
If you’re a feta fan, you won’t be able to get enough of this dip! The saltiness of the feta is brightened with zesty bits of lemon and rounded out with garlic and Italian seasoning.
3. Sweet Kale Flatbread Pizza
Think outside the box with your next homemade pizza… or in this case, the bag! This Sweet Kale Flatbread Pizza uses the Eat Smart® Sweet Kale salad kit to make homemade pizza night easy, fun, and nutritious.
4. Pasta Alla Norma
This well-known Sicilian dish uses eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and ricotta salata cheese. It’s hearty and flavorful yet not overwhelmingly heavy like some pasta dishes.
5. Marinated Feta Cheese with Herbs and Garlic
Marinating feta cheese in olive oil, herbs, and garlic takes the flavors from good to amazing. Taking cheese to the next level couldn’t be any easier!
6. Lamb and Mushroom Blended Meatballs with Spiced Cucumber Yogurt Dipping Sauce
This recipe comes from The Mushroom Council by way of our partners at Monterey Mushrooms. Inspired by the filling of dolmas, these meatballs use a blend of lamb, mushroom, aromatic herbs, and rice. They’re juicy and loaded with flavor, and the simple dipping sauce gives them a tangy twist!
7. Grilled Radicchio
Nope, that’s not red cabbage or lettuce… it’s radicchio! While adding radicchio to salads is always a good idea in our book, there’s so much more that can be done with this beautiful veggie.
8. 10-Minute Tzatziki Sauce
This cool, refreshing sauce is great on a veggie sandwich or used as a dip for pita chips or crunchy veggies. It stores well, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.
9. Porcini Mushroom and Broccoli Rabe Risotto
Risotto is a creamy Italian dish which is perfectly suited for broccoli rabe. This recipe is still warm and comforting like traditional risotto, but the addition of a broccoli rabe purée makes the flavors brighter and more complex.
10. Watermelon Mediterranean Salad
We have our partners at Watermelon Board to thank for this unique salad recipe. Feta cheese and black pepper make it the perfect sweet and savory appetizer, side, or snack for a sunny afternoon.
11. Kohlrabi Linguine with Lemon Butter Shrimp
Mann’s Kohlrabi “Linguine” is a delicious, versatile, ready-made pasta substitute – no spiralizer required! This rich entree will transport you to the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast.
12. Grilled Bread with Pesto Burrata and Tomatoes
Bread, cheese, tomatoes, and pesto. There’s just no better combination in our book! While we love this recipe best on the grill, you can also make it in the oven by placing the bread directly on your oven rack.
13. Tuscan Spinach Salad
Some salads are more decadent than others, like this Tuscan Spinach Salad featuring warm spinach and radicchio topped with Gorgonzola cheese, garlic, yellow onions, and toasted walnuts. Pair it with Pasta Alla Norma for an Italian countryside dinner!
14. Cheese Kale and Penne Bake
Introduce your kids to kale through this pasta bake that’s covered in creamy cheese and topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. This hearty and versatile recipe works as a side or a main dish.
15. Grilled Red Bell Peppers with Olives and Feta
Last but certainly not least, Grilled Red Bell Peppers with Olives and Feta is a great side or appetizer with flare only Mediterranean recipes can provide. Whether you make it indoors on a grill pan or outdoors on the grill, it’s sure to be an irresistible part of your meal.
Staying home and preventing the spread of COVID-19 is the right thing to do right now — for you, for your family, and for your whole community. But that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to some adventurous meals! We hope these tasty Mediterranean recipes help you take your family on a sunny European vacation right at your own dining table.
What are your favorite Mediterranean-inspired recipes? Share in the comments below or tag us in your food photos on Instagram @theproducemoms.
For the Bouyourdi recipe, try to use the best ingredients possible.
Olive oil – One of the most healthy oils to cook with is extra virgin olive oil. It can definitely be found everywhere. Quality extra virgin olive oil contains healthy fat that retains its beneficial qualities during cooking.
Feta cheese – must be good quality too. You can even find an authentic one in Greek stores. Traditionally Feta cheese is a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk with a creamy texture. Its balanced taste of sweet and slightly sour is ideal for me.
Cherry tomatoes – actually, this delicious recipe can be made of different kinds of tomatoes. I like using cherry tomatoes as they have a sweet taste and thin skin. Anyway, it is up to you which one you will choose.
Herbs – I will recommend you fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary. If you do not have a fresh one, you can use dried herbs.
Garlic – will enhance even more this dish.
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