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Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Delicious pasta salad with mediterranean flavors. Fresh herbs, vegetables, tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, and crispy salami drenched in a delicious red wine vinaigrette dressing.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
YIELD 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • cup red wine vinegar
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, fresh or dried
  • ½ cup (26g) red onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley & basil, roughly chopped

Pasta Salad

  • 12 oz (340g) dried noodles, uncooked *see notes
  • 3 oz (85g) olives, pitted and halved, Kalamata preferred
  • 9 oz (256g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup (100g) cucumber, sliced
  • ½ cup (15g) spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 8 oz (226g) fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 4 oz (115g) salami slices

Instructions

  1. Set a cold pot of salted water on the stove now to bring to a boil for your noodles.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, oregano, red onion, salt and pepper. Blitz on high until thoroughly combined, about 15-20 seconds. If you don't have a food processor, add all ingredients to a lidded mason jar or glass bottle. Shake vigorously to combine.

  2. Pour into the bottom of a large bowl to sit and marinate. Stir in the roughly chopped parsley and basil. Let this sit while you start making your pasta.

Pasta Salad

  1. Once your stovetop water is boiling, pour in the noodles and cook until the noodles are cooked through perfectly. Softer than al dente, harder than mushy over-cooked pasta. Follow directions on the box of noodles for most accurate boiling time for the pasta shape you're cooking. Strain the noodles when finished cooking. Run cold water over the noodles in the strainer to preserve the perfect firmness. Let sit for 1-2 minutes to strain out excess water.

  2. Add the noodles right to the large bowl of vinaigrette and toss to coat thoroughly.

  3. Add the olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, and mozzarella. Toss again to coat.

  4. Add your crispy salami, stirring one last time. Drizzle with additional olive oil, vinegar, and/or top with fresh cracked pepper.

Crispy Salami *Optional, but delicious

  1. Crisping salami is almost exactly like crisping up bacon. Prepare by setting a paper towel on a clean plate so you can soak up the grease on the cooked salami.

  2. Stovetop Method:

    Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat on the stove. Do not add any grease or oil. Once the pan is quite hot, add a thin layer of salami to the pan. It will almost immediately start to crisp and bubble. If your salami is very thin, cooking 15-30 seconds on each side is sufficient. If your salami is a little thicker, 30-45 seconds on each side should do. You should see the salami turn a little darker in color as the fat melts and you'll notice a bacon-like crisp forming on the edges. Do not cook them so long that they burn. You may need to do a few batches to cook all the salami.

  3. Oven Method:

    Preheat your oven to 350F/176C Place your salami on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salami.

  4. Once your salami slices are crisped, transfer them to the paper towel lined plate to cool for 5 minutes. They will continue to crisp further while cooling. Once cooled, slice into 1 cm sized strips. Toss into your salad. Crisping your salami prevents the slices from getting too soggy.

Recipe Notes

Salad can be eaten right away, but I prefer to let mine sit and soak up extra flavor in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours prior to eating. This salad keeps best up to 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It's not quite as good on days 3-4 if it lasts that long in your house! 

*Pasta: Try to choose a noodle that has a nice shape to it so it will hold and absorb the dressing well. I used orzo as that was all I had on hand at the moment. Bowties, spirals, and penne would all work very well!

**Substitution ideas:

  •  Kalamata Olives (Substitutions: pepperoncini, green olives, black olives, or artichokes)
  •  Cherry tomatoes, halved (Substitutions: diced Roma tomatoes, sundried tomatoes)
  •  Spinach, coarsely chopped (Substitutions: arugula, micro greens, more fresh basil)
  •  Fresh mozzarella pearls (Substitutions: feta cheese crumbles or parmesan)