I just love when I bring a dish to a party, cookout, or get together, and mine is one of the first to disappear! This past weekend, we went to a 76th birthday celebration for a family friend. The Davis family is an amazing group of people, who fill their home with laughs as well as very healthy food. Although I fully believe in spoiling yourself and indulging during parties, I figured why not indulge AND fill up on a nutritionally sound side dish at the same time? I made this pasta salad up on a whim, mostly because I was craving feta cheese. I used Tinkyada gluten free spiral pasta because the hostess chooses to eat primarily gluten free, and I take any opportunity to cater to gluten free needs, whether health related or fitness related. You can really use any pasta you would like, be it gluten free or not.
The best part of this recipe is that I was running extremely late (which is rare as lateness is a HUGE pet peeve!) and it was still ready in time! While I boil the pasta I chop the fresh veggies, tomatoes, and cheese. I love to challenge myself to get all food groups and LOTS of colors into one dish. I was successful here!
Pasta – Grains (brown rice adds fiber)
Feta cheese – Dairy
Greek Yogurt – protein
Tomatoes – pop quiz! It is NOT a veggie! Fruit!
Cucumbers/Onions – Vegetables
Olive Oil – healthy fats
Oh – and you can enjoy your carb indulgence, even on the third bowl. It is just a miracle there was any left to serve.
When I arrived at the Davis’, I was gone only a few minutes to change for the pool…
I came back to find Mrs. D, her daughter, and Everett’s sister with their guilty faces, all wrist deep, uses their fingers to
woof down graze in the most ladylike fashion on the pasta salad. When lunch was served, it was the first thing to go – success!
If you want to be the Hostess with the Mostess (and littlest waist) …
Here’s the recipe:
1 package Tinkyada Spiral Gluten Free Pasta, cooked to package directions (slightly al dente)
1 small Vidalia onion
1 large tomato
1/2 large cucumber
1 6 oz package Boar’s Head Feta cheese
1-2 tbsp dill
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup good olive oil
2 tbsp Vidalia Onion dressing (gluten free)
Chobani plain fat free yogurt to taste
sea salt/fresh black pepper to taste
*Optional add-ins: Kalamata olives (pitted and chopped), chick peas (really makes this side dish a complete meal with the additional protein and texture!)
Boil water and cook the pasta to package directions, adding a generous amount of sea salt and olive oil to the boiling water to both season and keep the pasta from clumping. While the pasta boils skin the cucumber, chop the cucumber, tomato, and cheese (and dill if using fresh). Upon draining, make sure you thoroughly rinse the pasta in cool water. Transport pasta to a serving bowl/Tuperware. Add the add-ins, squeeze lemon (the Giada way so the seeds don’t get in!), seasonings, dressing and yogurt. Adjust the amount of Chobani you use to your liking. About 3/4 to a full single serving container works well, especially to keep leftovers moist.