GREEK SPINACH & OLIVE PASTA SALAD

1 box spiral or ziti or bowtie pasta (bowties are pretty, but difficult for the kids to eat)
1/2 lb. feta cheese, crumbled (I used a 6 oz. container)
1 bag washed baby spinach, stems torn off
1/2 C. (approx.) of  pitted Kalamata olives from the deli...about 20 or two scoops, including the juice

grape tomatoes (I used the whole little plastic container)

1/2 C. olive oil (may need more if you think its too dry)
1/4 C. red wine vinegar  *See note at bottom
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced (we LOVE garlic, so use more if you want)
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. black pepper (I just gave it a few good turns of my pepper grinder)

 

Mix oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and spices in a jar.

I whisked them in the bottom of serving bowl before I even started cooking the pasta, so they could marinate awhile together.

 

 Combine cooked, drained pasta, tomatoes, olives along WITH their flavorful oil and cheese. Cover & chill for several hours. Before serving, add spinach and toss to mix.   For transporting to an event, I put the spinach all across the top & just mixed it into the pasta before serving.  Otherwise, it will wilt & not look so pretty. You may want to sprinkle a bit more cheese on top too, just to make it look nice.

 

*I also used some balsamic vinegar along with the red wine BUT it turned the pasta a beige color. 

It made it look like whole wheat pasta which is okay, but if you want it to stay pretty white, don't use balsamic unless you can find white balsamic. 

 

You could easily make up the dressing & keep it in a jar in the fridge & just pour a wee bit over some cooked pasta & throw in some tomatoes & fresh spinach & feta for a DELICIOUS easy, quick summer time salad.  I promise you, you won't be disappointed.  It IS yummy!  The more garlic, the better, too!  *wink*

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