Cool as a Cucumber

In Greek, Pasta, Quick Meal, Salad, Vegetables on June 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Holy balls, it’s hot here in NY!  The past two days have been in the 90s, and the rest of the week not much below that.  Days like these give me second thoughts about turning the oven or stove on.  That’s when salads become my go-to dinner delights!  However, day after day of lettuce can get boring, so I try to mix it up.  I had some leftover salmon from Father’s Day dinner, so I tried to think what salads would pair well with that.  What goes better with salmon than dill!  Luckily I had tons of dill from the farmer’s market, as well as beautiful red scallions and cucumbers.  These all make for a great cucumber salad!  I also wanted some sort of starch, but didn’t want to cook or eat hot foods.  The solution:  make a pasta salad.  Yes, you do have to turn the stove on, but if you prepare the pasta and other ingredients while it’s still cool in the morning, you can let it marinate in the fridge and have it ready for dinner time.

Scallions, Dill, Feta, Red Wine Vinegar, ready for pasta water.

Most people add tons of mayo to their version, but I use flavorful feta cheese and pasta water to create the dressing.  This dish would also be really great with kalamata olives and sun dried tomatoes.  I didn’t have any, so I omitted them.

Greek Style Feta and Dill Pasta Salad

Serves 4-6 as a side dish, 2-3 as a main

6 oz whole grain short cut pasta (I used brown rice penne)
3 scallions, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
4 oz feta, crumbled
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pasta cooking water
Fresh black pepper to taste
Olives and/or sun dried tomatoes, diced (optional)

I cooked the pasta 2 minutes shy of the box directions (since the pasta would absorb the dressing during marination), and during that time I prepped all the other ingredients.

Once the pasta was ready, I poured it over the other ingredients, along with some of the water, and mixed everything together.

After letting it cool for about 20 minutes, I put it in the fridge covered to finish marinating.  I also prepped the cucumber salad.

Dill Cucumber Salad

Serves 2

2 kirby or 1 medium sized cucumber, sliced thin
1-2 scallions, sliced thin
2-3 tbsp fresh dill
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

I cut up all the veggies, then combined with the red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and let it sit in the fridge until dinner time.

Super simple!  Kind of like pickles, but crispier.

When it was time for dinner, I warmed Nick’s portion of salmon in the toaster oven with a dollop of dijon mustard, whereas I preferred mine cold with mustard on the side.

I was lucky that I had pre-cooked salmon, but had I not, I would have cooked it earlier that morning to beat the heat.

Some other salads I’ve been digging are beet greens with roasted beets, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.  Sometimes I add chickpeas, too!  Don’t ever throw out the beet greens again!

Hope you’re all staying cool out there!  Might I suggest a cucumber?

  1. yummy! Come and add this delicious recipe to the party… Thanks for sharing 🙂

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