January 11, 2012
So in an effort to clean out our pantry I threw something together today and it worked out pretty well thanks to a little pressure from my wife. It was a fairly simple recipe and you can “healthy” it up pretty easily. It is good in a small portion as a side/appetizer or you could add some chicken (or leave it veggie) and make a meal out of it. I would even say with some light italian dressing and some romaine lettuce you could beef it up quite nicely. It all started with a jar of kalamata olives and a 1lb bag of whole wheat rotini pasta.
1 lb – Whole Wheat Pasta
1 jar – Pitted Kalamata Olives (reserve some of the brine)
2 tsp. – Dried Oregano
3oz – Feta (recommend 1.5oz fat free 1.5oz full fat, but all can be fat free)
1 Tbsp. – Fresh Parsley
2 – Medium Tomatoes, chopped
1 – Medium Onion, finely diced
3 Tbsp. – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 or 2 – Garlic Clove(s), minced
1 tsp. – Ground Black Pepper
1. First, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. With whole wheat pasta sometimes the cooking time differs from your standard white pastas. Mine was cooking for about 11 minutes right to the point of being al dente. You want it slightly firm, test the pasta out of the pot and make sure you like the texture. It will continue to cook a little afterwards and you will be warming it slightly with the rest of the ingredients. Drain the pasta well.
2. Add 1 tablespoon (reserve the other 2 tablespoons) of the oil to a large saute pan over medium-high heat, and cook the diced onion until translucent. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and continue to saute for another minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add in the chopped/pitted kalamata olives and 1 tablespoon of the olive brine liquid and stir the onion, olive and garlic mixture until the majority of the brine has boiled out of the mixture and reduce the heat of the pan to medium and add in 1.5oz of the feta cheese (full fat which melts better) and the dried oregano and mix it till it begins to melt into the mixture. Take the pan with the mixture off the heat once the cheese has combined with the other ingredients.
3. Place the onion/olive mixture the bottom of the pot you used to boil the pasta and return the pasta to the pot as well. Add in the chopped tomatoes, parsley, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of pepper, reserved 1.5oz of fat free feta and fold it all together gently.
You can serve this hot or cold, and the longer it sits the more the flavors come out. With all the brine, olives and feta you really do not need to add any salt. Like I mentioned earlier this is pretty versatile and you can add dressing and lettuce, grilled chicken etc to make it more complex and more filling if need be. I left out bell peppers, celery and like because of personal preference. I would recommend adding bell peppers in last so they retain their crunchy texture. I actually added in a can of hearts of palm to our recipe, but that was just to “use it up.” I recommend this type of salad as a good way to clean out some ingredients in the pantry you seldom use.
The estimated calories of this dish are about 6 servings at 390 calories (1 cup.) Olives, olive oil, pasta and feta cheese are calorie dense. I do recommend using 1/2 cup of the pasta salad, fat free italian and add some romaine lettuce. If you have any questions please feel free to post them in the comments. Hope someone enjoys this, my wife loved it and is currently eating it up at work.