With the Easter holiday coming up this weekend, normally I would be posting an Easter-themed recipe on my blog this week. But for some reason, my Easter inspiration just wasn't there this year - I couldn't come up with anything that hasn't already been done!
So if you're looking for a cute Easter idea, check out these peanut butter bunnies and raw cookie chicks that I made last year. Or if you're just here for the recipes, I've got a great pasta salad to share with you today!
I'm not typically a huge fan of pasta salad, as it can sometimes be a bit boring. For me, the keys to a memorable pasta salad are to add lots of veggies, some kind of protein, and a flavourful dressing - all of which are included in this recipe!
This dish is like a bulked-up Greek salad - besides the usual veggies that you would find in a Greek salad (tomatoes, cucumber, and peppers - I left out red onion based on personal preference), I added olives, artichokes, and capers for lots of salty, briny flavour, and rotini pasta to help soak up the dressing.
Instead of using traditional feta cheese, I decided to make "tofu feta". If you've never heard of this idea, you can mimic the flavour and texture of a salty cheese by marinating uncooked firm tofu in a dressing made with lots of lemon juice, miso, a bit of olive oil, and lots of herbs.
The tofu was actually my favourite part of this dish - I love the chewy texture and it really soaked up the marinade so it didn't just taste like bland tofu! I also loved how each bite was full of ingredients - the ratio of pasta to veggies was a bit skewed towards the veggie side, which is how I prefer my salads!
This makes a lot of pasta - enough to feed yourself for lunches for the week, or it would make a great potluck or BBQ dish to share with a group!
Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta
Inspired by Katy's Kitchen; tofu adapted from Keepin' it Kind
350g/12 oz package extra firm pressed tofu, drained and water squeezed out
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white miso paste
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
~450g dried pasta (I used rotini)
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tomatoes, diced (I removed most of the seeds as I chopped)
1/2 an English cucumber, sliced into half-moons
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half
6 oz jar of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (*save the oil for the dressing)
2 tbsp capers, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp oil (I used the oil from the jar of artichoke hearts, but you could use olive oil)
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper
First, start marinating the tofu. If you don’t have already pressed tofu, press it between layers of paper towel with a heavy object on top for at least 15 minutes to remove excess water. Slice tofu into small cubes (about ½”). Whisk together the remaining ingredients to make the marinade. Place tofu slices in a shallow container and pour marinade over top. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally to make sure all the tofu pieces get coated.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook for length of time specified by package directions, then drain and rinse with cold water.
Meanwhile, prepare the veggies (green pepper, tomatoes, and cucumber) and place in a large bowl. Add the olives, artichokes, and capers. When the pasta is done, add it to the bowl as well.
Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss to mix.
Add tofu to the bowl, including any leftover marinade. Add parsley and toss well to mix.
Chill until serving time.
Makes 4-6 servings.