This post has been sponsored by Bertolli Olive Oil. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Although I love traditional holiday meals, you’ve definitely heard me mention that my family has been expanding our menus the last several years as we manage a large crowd and kid’s appetites. Christmas dinner has morphed into a seasonal tamale tradition (especially funny since we didn’t grow up making tamales and personally crafted a CA hippie chicken broth/olive oil version) and Easter dinner has shifted from ham and pasta salad to enchiladas. (Easter enchiladas are TOTALLY a thing. Just go with it.) Overall, I LOVE the new food tradition of… non-traditional food, but there are absolutely aspects of the meals that I miss. The good news is, I’m equal opportunity and I don’t feel like you need to wait to make ANYTHING. If you want, that’s a good enough reason.
And here’s what I’ve been missing these days: the yummy pasta salad that was my contribution to Easter dinner. Since I already said wanting something was a good enough reason to make it I dusted off my old recipe, polished up a few of the ingredients, and created this Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Homemade Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. Since this recipe is in partnership with Bertolli, you can count on robust flavors and the fact that this recipe is simple. Perfect for your next holiday gathering OR delicious craving.
Now, you might ask: Carla, how have you changed this recipe? And I’d tell you: it’s the little things that are actually BIG things. First of all, I used to make this pasta salad with penne. In hindsight, I have no idea why. Penne is a great shape, but what you really want here is a pasta shape that lets all the dressing and toppings nestle into every nook and cranny. Enter: fusilli.
I really think the pasta shape change is a major step in the right direction, but there are more shifts: adding rich marinated artichoke hearts, incorporating bright Meyer lemon juice into the dressing, and caramelizing SHALLOTS. (Honestly, that last one is another nod to my time in Vietnam over New Year’s- they caramelize shallots constantly and then put them in everything. BRILLIANT, obviously.)
And don’t forget the Bertolli® Olive Oil deliciousness. It’s a 100% Pure and Extra Light product (from the #1 olive oil brand in the world- did you know?) that was founded right in Italy and is committed to simple, quality craftsmanship. That means you get all the fruity flavor, but Bertolli has worked to achieve that flavor within Italy’s standards for full-bodied taste and low acidity- all while being cold-pressed using natural methods AND verified by the Non GMO Project. And when the recipe is simple, Bertolli is the perfect choice to bring out the flavor of any dish.
- 6 cups cooked fusilli pasta (cooked al dente according to manufacturer's instructions and tossed with 1 tbsp of Bertolli® Olive Oil to prevent sticking once drained)
- 4 shallots (sliced and caramelized in 2 tbsps Bertolli® Olive Oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
- 6 oz (1 jar) of drained artichoke heart quarters, chopped in half
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives
- 6 oz feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup Bertolli® Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a medium jar and shake well to incorporate.
- Toss all pasta salad ingredients in a large bowl with about half of the vinaigrette.
- Add the remaining vinaigrette to taste. (I generally use just over 3/4 of the recipe.)
My mom likes to look at her plate and see lots of colors, maybe that’s why she always liked this pasta salad? It’s got a little bit of something for everyone.
You probably were waiting for this (especially those of you who know all about my obsession with leftovers): yup, it’s exceptional for a speedy next day lunch.
In fact, this salad is even better the second day, making it absolutely perfect for make ahead meal prep. I would go so far as to say it’s BETTER the second day since the vinaigrette has had a chance to incorporate into the pasta and the flavors all come together. Try it. Trust me.
Final question: Mediterranean Pasta Salad TOTALLY goes with enchiladas, am I right? Asking for a friend.
Find more recipes featuring Bertolli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil here!