Zesty and easy Italian pasta salad with cheese, salami, antipasti and an easy homemade dressing!
1/2 to 1poundrotini pasta
6cocktail cucumbers, or 1 English cucumber
1 to 1 1/2cupscherry tomatoes
1large red onion, or 2 shallots
1large red bell pepper
1/2cupolive medley, green, kalamata or black
1cupfeta cheese, cubed
1cupchopped dry salami
small bunch fresh basil
For Lemon Dressing:
1/3cupfreshly squeezed lemon juice
1tbspdried or fresh parsley
1/2tspEACH: dried basil, dried oregano, black pepper
Begin by preparing the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the rotini pasta, or your desired pasta shape. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Once done, drain the pasta and keep it covered and warm on the side.
Next, prepare the vegetables. Slice the cucumbers into rings; cut the cherry tomatoes in half or into quarters; chop the bell pepper and the onion/shallot. Place the chopped veggies into an extra-large mixing bowl. Next, slice the olives into rings; chop the salami into small bits. Add the cubed feta cheese, pepperchinis and capers into the mixing bowl. Stack the basil leaves, gently roll them into a log and thinly chop the leaves; add the chopped basil to the mixing bowl.
I recommend toasting the pine nuts before adding them to the salad. Preheat a small frying pan over medium heat and add the nuts. Toss them frequently and toast for a few minutes, until the nuts are golden and aromatic. Add them to the salad.
For the lemon dressing: simply combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, basil and oregano in a large measuring cup. Use a whisk or a fork and mix the ingredients together, until the oil and juice come together; about 30 seconds.
To assemble the salad, add the cooked pasta and the prepared dressing. Using two large spoons, toss everything together until the pasta is well coated the fillings are evenly distributed. The pasta salad can be enjoyed right away, or stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.