Lemon, Garlic + Fresh Herbs dress this one-pot Greek Pasta Salad with creamy French feta cheese, olives, artichokes and zucchini!
With lots of fresh perennial herbs popping up in my garden I set a goal to utilize them better than I have in past seasons.
Several herbs bounce back fairly quickly in the spring – like mint, oregano and thyme. In this Greek Pasta Salad recipe, I use fresh thyme and oregano.
You probably have dried oregano and thyme in your pantry. You can use dried herbs in this recipe if it’s all you have to work with.
How to dry fresh herbs
Oregano is just as flavorful dried as it is when fresh. Drying fresh oregano or any other fresh herb is easy:
- Snip the stems.
- Let the branches sit – aerated – in a shady spot until completely dried out.
- Store until ready to use in an airtight container.
Ways to use fresh oregano
Here are a few ideas to utilize fresh sprigs of oregano:
- Fresh tomato pizza with oregano and mozzarella
- Mexican Dishes: Did you know there are different types of oregano? Mexican oregano is delicious in tacos and burritos. You’ll love it!
- Beans: add 1-2 tbs of fresh oregano to a pot of simmering home-cooked beans about 30 minutes before they’re completely cooked. The oregano will infuse the beans with a herby, earthy flavor.
- Tomato Salad: fresh tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, fresh oregano and salt + pepper. Simple is amazing.
Ways to use fresh thyme
Here are a few ideas to utilize fresh thyme leaves:
- Portabella Mushroom Pasta with Thyme
- Creamy Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup (vegan)
- Chicken and Mushrooms with Balsamic Cream Sauce
How to Make Greek Pasta Salad
With tons of zucchini in my garden, I wanted to create a pasta salad that incorporated this bounty into an easy summer meal. It’s definitely worthy of a summer picnic and can be served hot or cold. I think room temperature is the best.
The zucchini is infused with garlic, lemon and lots of fresh summer herbs for a light pasta salad accented with feta.
I use French feta. The flavor is milder and texture creamier. I know, this is supposed to be a Greek pasta salad, but I just love French feta. Don’t tell the Greeks!
It’s harder to find, so regular Greek feta is perfectly fine too. Check out this guide to feta cheese!
Step 1: Boil Pasta. I love the shape of gemelli noodles for pasta salad!
Step 2: Sauté garlic, oregano and thyme in a pan on low to infuse flavors.
Step 3: Add chopped zucchini and sauté.
Step 4: Add sliced tomatoes, cooked pasted, artichokes, olives and lemon juice to warm through.
Step 5: Serve topped with french feta and lemon zest.
- 2 cups uncooked pasta (regular or gluten free)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbs minced garlic 4 cloves, more to taste
- 2 Tbs fresh or dried oregano finely chopped
- 1 Tbs fresh or dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- Zest of 1 large lemon + juice of 1/2 large lemon
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 cups zucchini quartered & diced (keep the pieces thick so they stay firm)
- 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts chopped
- 8-10 marinated olives pitted
- 1/2 cup crumbled French feta or Greek feta cheese to top
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over low heat. Add garlic, oregano, thyme, salt and ground pepper + red pepper flakes. Stir to blend and let sit on a low flame while the pasta cooks.
With 5 minutes left on the pasta, add zucchini to the sauté pan with the herbs + turn up heat to medium. Toss in pan to coat zucchini with oregano and sauté for a few minutes until just starting to cook - we want the zucchini to stay a little firm. (this is also a great way just to serve zucchini on it's own)
Turn down heat to medium-low. Add tomatoes,a dash of salt and pepper and heat though for 1 minute.
Drain pasta and add to sauté pan. Add artichokes, olives and juice of 1/2 of a large lemon. Sauté for 2 minutes until everything is incorporated and warmed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Top with feta, lemon zest, a drizzle of olive oil + serve.
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Super satisfying summer lunch. Lots of flavor and very fresh.