Welcome to Gather Round the Grill! For the whole month of May I’m sharing recipes that are perfect for cookouts, grill outs, BBQs, potlucks, and all your summer gatherings. This week is all about Cookout Sides and started off with this easy recipe for Grilled Asian Snap Peas and continues with this bright Greek Pasta Salad. Don’t forget to join us for more recipes throughout the week then come back to share your own favorite cookout side on Friday!
Sometimes things from childhood just stick. Like folding the towels in thirds. Or pouring milk on cake. Or putting crab in pasta salad.
As a kid I hated pasta salad, but my mom made a version that I could tolerate. It was filled with veggies and hunks of Swiss cheese, drenched in Italian dressing, then sprinkled with crab. It didn’t have a speck of mayo or mustard in it, which were the offending ingredients in other pasta salads, which I avoided like the plague.
Since my picky tweener years, I’ve developed a love for pasta salad, and even found a place in my heart for the mayo and mustard variety.
Still, whenever I make pasta salad at home, I like to stick to mom’s version. Veggies, cheese, a puckery vinegar-based dressing, and a sprinkling of crab.
This is my version of mom’s pasta salad. A quick toss of tomatoes, zucchini, and bell pepper complimented by crumbled feta and a homemade Greek vinaigrette.
While we’re on the topic of homemade dressings, let’s have a little side convo. I’m gonna be real honest here. I’m what you might call a dressing hoarder. I keep several different varieties of bottled dressings in my fridge at all times. I just can’t settle for one variety. I have to have a vinaigrette, a Caesar, a blue cheese, and a ranch on hand…and that’s the bare minimum. I mean, you just never know when you may need a dip of blue cheese or a drizzle of balsamic!
I know it’s super easy to make your own dressings. I know it’s healthier and amazing and OMG why wouldn’t you make your own dressing?! Buuuut it just isn’t very realistic for me to make 12 different kinds of dressing to feed my irrational need for variety.
All that said, this Greek dressing is changing my view on homemade dressing. It takes about 5 minutes to throw all the ingredients in a jelly jar, then all you have to do is shake it up. It’s a nice vinaigrette that has just the right amount of pucker and greek seasonings. It’d be just as good on a green salad as it is on this quick and easy pasta salad.
This was a huge hit at our church potluck, and is sure to disappear at your summer cookouts. After all, who can resist a bowl full of pasta and cheese and bright colored veggies? File this one away, folks…it’s another great recipe to have in your cookout arsenal!
- 8 oz. rotini
- 8 oz. imitation flake crab, chopped
- 2 heads broccoli, chopped into small florets
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ orange bell pepper, chopped
- 2 small zucchini, sliced
- 4 oz. grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 green onions, diced
- 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
- Throw the pasta, all the veggies, the crab, and the feta cheese together in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
- In a jelly or jam jar, combine all the dressing ingredients. Screw the lid on extra tight and shake for about 2 minutes or until well combined. Pour over the salad ingredients and stir to coat. Chill until ready to serve.
Recipe by NeighborFood
Looking for more cookout side dishes? Try these!