Say so long to ho-hum Cure summer blahs with pasta salad trio


SUMMER ISN'T OVER by a long shot but already some outdoor fare is looking,well a little boring.Here are three ethnic-inspired pasta salads to add a little sizzle to your next meal.

These salads can be made ahead of time and refrigerated-a real bonus during busy summer months.Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Greek Pasta Salad

1/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 large pita

2 cups medium pasta shells

1/2 cup pint cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved

medium green bell pepper, stems and seeds removed, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces

medium cucumber, pared, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

1 small red onion, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

cup sliced celery

3 ounces feta cheese, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

cup black olives

1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Coarsely ground black pepper

Cooked lamb slices, optional

Combine oil and garlic in a large bowl. Cut around edges of pita and separate into two circles, brush lightly with some of the oil in the bowl; tear into pieces. Toast bread in a non-stick skillet over medium heat; turning to brown evenly.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Combine all ingredients. Add pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature. Serves four.

Italian Pasta Salad

1 pound pasta shells

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

3 cups cooked broccoli florets

1 12-ounce pepperoni, skinned and cut into 1/4 -inch pieces

6 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/4 -inch pieces

1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/4 -inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot, about 1 medium

1/3 cup chopped black olives

1/4 cup hard cheese, like Parmesan or Romano, cut into 1/4 -inch rough chunks

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and rinse with cool water.

Whisk the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, oregano and black pepper together; set aside.

In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add dressing; toss to blend. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves six.

Chinese Pasta Salad

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

1/2 cup shreded pared carrot

1 small cucumber, pared and cut into 1-inch julienne

1 cup packed trimmed small sprigs fresh watercress

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon hot chili-flavored Oriental sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic

12 ounces thin spaghetti

Place scallions, carrot, cucumber and watercress in a small bowl; wrap with plastic and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whisk remaining ingredients, except pasta, together.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water.

Combine all ingredients just before serving. Serves four to six.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad